Four of seven 'dolphin structures' protruding over the Calliope River are among 21 45m-plus high transmission towers being refitted to ensure electricity supply reliability for the Gladstone region.
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said works were underway to refit approximately two kilometres of existing transmission lines on an important link in Gladstone’s electricity transmission network – the connection from the Gladstone Power Station to the Calliope River Substation.
The project will cost just under $4 million.
"The 21 towers being refitted have been exposed to harsh conditions as they are situated on the banks of the Calliope River and surrounding mangroves," Mr Butcher said.
"The insulators on the dolphin structures are flown to the structure by helicopter. This is the safest way to deliver them due to their weight and the difficulty in delivering via a boat and raising them to the cross arms.
"Powerlink is undertaking the works in a staged approach to avoid impacts to electricity supply, maintaining reliability to both residential and industrial customers in the Gladstone region."
Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the project would continue through to 2021.
"This is an unusual project as a number of the towers are located on the banks of the Calliope River and were constructed using special ‘dolphin structures’ which allow the tower to sit above the high tide mark," Dr Lynham said.
"Powerlink work crews use specialised techniques to safely and efficiently perform these activities on the over-water towers, including carefully scheduling work within tidal flows and utilising barges and helicopters to transport crews and equipment.
"The teams will replace corroded bolts, steelwork and insulators, upgrade earthing systems, and install new tower signs and anti-climbing barriers on a case-by-case basis based on condition assessments already undertaken.
"The Palaszczuk Government is committed to a secure and reliable electricity supply for all Queenslanders.
"Ongoing maintenance and upgrading of to ensure optimum performance and longevity of our Queensland-owned energy assets."
Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said the refit project was the most cost-efficient solution to safeguard network reliability to this important industrial hub for Queensland.
"This work will extend the technical service life of this critical transmission line by around 10 to 15 years," Ms York said.