Powerlink Queensland specialist helicopter crews will be threading over 55km of high voltage transmission line in the Surat Basin, north east of Roma (QLD). This extension of Queensland’s high voltage transmission network will support the state’s multi-billion-dollar gas export industry.

Powerlink’s Chief Executive, Merryn York, said using helicopters to string the lines reduced community, landholder and environmental impacts as well as construction timeframes.

“Highly specialised contractors are undertaking this work as part of the construction of our transmission network to support Queensland’s gas industry,” Ms York said.

“Transmission line stringing by helicopter is ideal in hilly areas near Injune as it minimises the need for heavy machinery and other vehicles disturbing vegetation.

“On average a helicopter team can string around six kilometres of transmission line a week, helping to reduce the overall construction impacts.  It is also considerably faster than on-the-ground methods, so what used to take weeks may now only take days.”

Ms York said safety was a priority for the teams involved in aerial stringing.

“This stringing is only conducted by highly trained pilots who specialise in this activity and use proven safe methods of work,” Ms York said.

“Every aspect of aerial stringing is meticulously planned by Powerlink and its contractors to ensure safe outcomes are achieved, with strict operational protocols in place such as exclusion zones and on the ground spotters.”

The technique to string the transmission line involves using the helicopter to pull a steel cable, known as a ‘draw wire’, from a winch on the ground. The helicopter pilot guides the draw wire to fit onto a roller attached to the arms of the tower. Once this has been completed, the draw wire is attached to the transmission line conductor (cable), and used to pull the conductor into the air and onto the towers.

Powerlink’s projects in the North West Surat involve the construction of seven substations and six transmission lines. In total, 565 towers will be strung along 200 kilometres of easement.

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