Electricity pylons come down in EarleyBy Linda Fort
March 07, 2013
Power lines which caused an emergency two years ago when a 33,000-volt cable burnt through, causing fires and havoc in Earley, are being taken down.
The line of small pylons, which pre-date the housing estate which was built among them, are being removed by Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD).
The second phase of the £600,000 project to dismantle more than 1km of redundant power lines started on Monday.
In August 2011 an overhead cable which was touching the top of a conifer in Hillside Road caused a fire in the tree, which burnt through the cable and brought it down, sparks flying, into the housing estate, causing damage to property and considerable alarm to people living there.
Now, over the next two weeks, specialist linesmen and engineers will take down overhead lines and pylons in a part of the network at Gypsy Lane, Roman Way, Dunaways Close and Robindale Avenue.
The first phase of the work, now complete, was to lay the power cables underground. It was carried out over two months last autumn, in consultation with Wokingham Borough Council and was completed just before Christmas.
SEPD project manager Neil Derbyshire said: “We now need to remove the redundant overhead lines around these roads, and this is a highly complex project due to their location.
“We believe this part of the network dates back further than some of homes which have subsequently been built around the pylons, which stand around 12 metres high. We have had to work out the safest way to reach each structure with the minimum of disturbance for residents.
“Following a period of extensive consultation and agreement with householders, we will in some cases be accessing pylons via driveways and gardens of people’s properties. During this time, road closures and diversions will be in force and access restricted to enable us to locate our machinery in the right places and carry out the work with due regard to the safety of all residents and of our own teams.
“Road closures are being eased in some parts during traffic peak periods, and there are clearly labelled walkways for pedestrians.”
During this week SEPD will remove six spans of overhead line using a specialised winching machine. Each conductor cable will be reeled on to a large drum at one end of the line. Once all conductors have been removed, the process to dismantle and carry away six pylons will begin.
Some will be cut section by section and hoisted by cranes positioned on the cordoned-off public highway, but others will need to be manually dismantled because they are so close to homes.
Connected by safety harnesses, engineers will scale each pylon and, working from the top, unbolt each strut until the entire structure is taken down.
The redundant pylons will be taken away and will largely be sent for recycling.
Once the project is complete SEPD will be clearing and reinstating any part of residents’ properties affected by the works.