Tower rebuild in Kalgoorlie
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Western Power has successfully rebuilt and re-energised a 220kV transmission feeder line in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder area that was damaged during a storm.

Western Power said the fast-track rebuild was completed in nine days.

An extreme storm destroyed five towers on 17 January 2024, affecting power supply to the Kalgoorlie-Boulder area and surrounds. 

Power was supplied through a combination of Western Power network assets, Synergy’s back-up generator and a local privately owned generator during the rebuild.

Western Power Executive Manager Asset Management, Gair Landsborough, said the transmission line was a critical piece of network infrastructure in the area and as soon as the damage was known, teams across the business sprang into action to fast-track a solution.

“Our design and engineering teams developed a robust and resilient solution that could be constructed timely and safely, and we began procuring materials needed with a particular focus on using alternatives that we had in stock,” Mr Landsborough said.

“Specialist crossarms to go on the towers had to be designed and fabricated, and all materials and equipment had to be transported out to site.

“Logistically, this operation has required meticulous planning and execution from establishing temporary access roads to setting up on-site mobile facilities for our crews – every aspect has been thoughtfully managed to ensure continuous progress and energisation of the line for the community.

“Despite the remote location, our engineers and crews have been working tirelessly to restore this vital link including extensive drilling into hard rock to secure new foundations and installing 12 32m-high steel poles along the 2.5km work site, in place of the five damaged towers.

“Crossarms were then fitted, conductor strung, conductors moved and clipped as required and additional earth wire strung before final checks and energisation of the line today.

“Understanding the complexity of such large-scale operations, we put comprehensive backup plans in place such as specialist crews on standby to handle any mechanical issues or unforeseen challenges.”

Mr Landsborough said the crews’ outstanding efforts could not have been achieved without the fantastic support and collaboration from the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, a number of other agencies, contractors, and suppliers.

“We thank them and most importantly the community for being patient while we repair the storm damage,” Mr Landsborough said.

“Additionally, the support of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services during this time to ensure a coordinated effort was invaluable in minimising any disruptions to the community while maximising efficiency on-site.

“Every step was taken with two goals in mind: safety and speed. We understand the importance of this line to the people of Kalgoorlie and the surrounding regions. Every action was taken to respond as swiftly and safely as possible.”

Featured image: Transmission line being rebuilt in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder area. Courtesy of Western Power.

Assistant Editor, Utility magazine

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