An Energex worker operates the boring rig that is drilling under the Bruce Highway to connect Gympie's upgraded power network with 33,000 volt power cables.
An Energex worker operates the boring rig that is drilling under the Bruce Highway to connect Gympie's upgraded power network with 33,000 volt power cables. Renee Pilcher

Cable project hits snag

WORKERS laying cables for the new underground power circuit in Gympie hit a snag which delayed progress for a month while a special tool was found.

As part of Energex's $23 million project to upgrade Gympie's power network, boring of a hole below the Bruce Hwy was required and the spot chosen was just south of Albert Bowls Club.

Drilling started in mid-December and was expected to take about a week. But the rig hit extremely hard rock and a specially treated drill bit had to be found.

The drill bit has now been delivered to the site and will be used to continue the work over the next two to three weeks.

Besides this minor hiccup, the project to upgrade the electricity network in the area has progressed well, an Energex spokesman said. Construction on the new Gympie North Substation in Pine St was completed in July 2011 and laying of new underground 33,000 volt power cables began in September 2011.

Once completed, the new substation and underground cable will reinforce electricity supply to areas in the north and west of Gympie. Improvements are expected to meet growing power demand in areas including Southside, Widgee Crossing and Two Mile as well as improving reliability of electricity supply to Gympie central business district.

The upgrades included big improvements to the Wises Rd substation which double the amount of power it receives and supplies.

A large transformer that replaced two smaller transformers can receive higher voltage supplied by Tarong Power Station and can step the power down from 132,000 volts to 33,000 volts to distribute around the new underground circuit in Gympie and surrounds.

The Gympie power upgrade project follows a $5 million upgrade to the Cooloola Coast electricity network, which has boosted the power supply to more than 3300 homes and businesses on the coast.

The upgrade involved duplicating the existing 33,000 volt powerline along Tin Can Bay Road from Coondoo Ck to the Energex Tin Can Bay substation.

These projects are part of a record $5 billion-plus, five-year capital expenditure program being undertaken by Energex.

Gympie Times


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