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UK Power Networks begin drilling under River Orwell as part of multi-million pound boost to power supply in Suffolk and Essex

The view across the River Orwell, where a specialist team of engineers is drilling as part of a £30 million scheme by UK Power Networks. Picture: UK POWER NETWORKS

The view across the River Orwell, where a specialist team of engineers is drilling as part of a £30 million scheme by UK Power Networks. Picture: UK POWER NETWORKS

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Engineers have started drilling under the River Orwell as part of a £30 million scheme to boost power supplies in Suffolk and Essex.

UK Power Networks’ drilling site next to the Port of Felixstowe. Picture: UK POWER NETWORKS UK Power Networks’ drilling site next to the Port of Felixstowe. Picture: UK POWER NETWORKS

A special directional drill is being used to bore below the river, from the nature reserve at Trimley to the Shotley peninsula more than 1 kilometre away as part of the UK Power Networks project.

Once this had been completed, the team will then drill under the River Stour towards Harwich.

Engineers will then lay 12km of 33kV cable underground which is set to boost the power supply in Felixstowe, Shotley and Harwich.

The project will then allow 21km of overhead lines to be removed from the area with the aim of improving the look of the nearby Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty sand Special Protection Areas along the nearby rivers and coastline.

UK Power Networks’ site on the banks of the River Orwell at Shotley where the drill emerges and the electricity cables will be pulled through Picture: UK POWER NETWORKS UK Power Networks’ site on the banks of the River Orwell at Shotley where the drill emerges and the electricity cables will be pulled through Picture: UK POWER NETWORKS

Chris Sugars, project manager, said: “It is quite rare for electricity companies to drill under two major rivers so we gave brought in expert engineers from the Netherlands to carry out this specialist work beneath the River Orwell and then under the Rover Stour.

“This is a challenging and complex project which will increase the capacity to the area and meet its growing demands of our

45,000 customers for decades to come.”

Engineers aim to have the drilling part of the scheme completed by November and the entire project completed at the end of 2018.

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