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Relocating Transmission Lines in Watsonia

Today I chanced upon an impressive spectacle: the relocation of 220 kV electricity transmission lines in Watsonia.

As I was passing through the north-eastern Melbourne suburb of Watsonia today, I noticed some very very tall cranes on the horizon. Closer inspection revealed that I was actually witnessing the relocation of two 220 kV electricity transmission towers.

Two 220 kV transmission towers are to be relocated 80 metres from the west of Greensborough Highway to the east to accommodate the construction of the North-East Link freeway.

There surely cannot be a more high-pressure job than relocating 220 kV power lines across a busy Melbourne highway.

The relocation of the towers is to make way for the North-East Link freeway that will connect the Metropolitan Ring Road with the Eastern Freeway and complete the circle of freeways around metropolitan Melbourne.

Men atop a cherry picker attaching wires to a pylon with the use of a crane
Men working on installing wires on a new transmission tower in Watsonia.

The existing towers sit wedged between Greensborough Highway and the Hurstbridge Railway line. The whole area is to be turned into freeway in a few months when construction commences for the new road.

View from the ground looking up to electricity pylons.
Workmen carefully transferring high-voltage wires from the old transmission tower to the new.

Remarkably, the men are able to slowly install the new wires whilst the towers remain live, which means that everyone’s electricity supply should remain uninterrupted.

View of transmission tower with men working on it, with a stack of witches hats (safety cones) in the foreground.
Slowly each wire is moved across to the new electricity transmission tower.

This is clearly delicate work that requires a lot of forethought and careful planning. I’m certainly glad that this isn’t my job – imagine the pressure! The lines will slowly be moved across to the new towers in coming weeks before the old towers are demolished.

Transmission lines with blue sky behind.
Looking east from Watsonia railway station with the old transmission towers in the foreground and a new tower in the background.
Artist’s impression of the completed North-East link interchange at Watsonia. (Image: North East Link Authority).


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