A $6 million specialised maintenance project has started on a critical Powerlink transmission line perched on a steep Far North Queensland mountainside.
The four kilometres of transmission line delivers power from the Barron Gorge Power Station down to the Cairns region, and is located in steep terrain in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said crews started on site last weekend, working on the 50-year-old towers that bring electricity from Barron Gorge Power Station to the Cairns area.
“This four kilometres of line runs through steep terrain in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area next to the Kuranda Scenic Railway line,” he said.
“This is a cyclone prone area, so strengthening tower foundations along the length of the line is critical.”
Dr Lynham said work included strengthening the foundations of some of the 18 towers.
“Some of these 50-year-old towers are on a very steep incline, with a three metre difference in the height of the legs on one of the towers, so this project has its challenges,” he said.
“Given the difficult terrain, the project team is using a range of different methods to access and work on sites, including modified equipment and all-terrain vehicles.”
The project will support 17 jobs and is expected to be complete by late 2019, weather permitting.
Powerlink Interim Chief Executive Kevin Kehl said it was essential the towers were maintained appropriately to ensure ongoing network reliability, particularly given their location in a cyclone prone area.
“Due to the challenging location of these towers, logistics management will be critical, and the project team is thinking outside the box when it comes to accessing the towers, given the difficult terrain,” Mr Kehl said.
“The project will be undertaken in accordance with rigorous environmental management requirements. At all times, we aim to conduct our activities with as little disruption as possible to landholders, the environment and the wider community.”