NZ Transport Agency and Electricity Ashburton go under ground for road safety


The NZ Transport Agency has praised Electricity Ashburton’s decision to use underground power cables on two sections of State highway in Mid Canterbury - a move it says will help improve road safety in the area.

NZ Transport Agency Canterbury Highways Operation Manager Pete Connor’s says this is a great initiative and the agency is pleased to help Electricity Ashburton with the removal of the 66 power poles along a section of State highway 1 just south of Ashburton.

“The NZ Transport Agency is working to make road travel safer for everyone. Removing these poles is part of  our “safe system” approach that underpins the Safer Journeys strategy driving our road safety work. An integral part of this approach includes providing safer roads and road sides. Replacing roadside power poles with underground cable is helping to achieve that goal.”

Electricity Ashburton spokesperson Brendon Quinn says while the utility company is paying for the work, the support and advice of the NZ Transport Agency is appreciated.

“Our company is committed to increasing reliability of its electricity network and improving road safety - this project is a demonstration of that commitment. This project is one of three trial conversions of rural high voltage overhead lines to underground cable.  The first involved a trial on a short section of local road. 

“Following on from this success we have now committed to two longer trials. One is the 5.5 km length along State Highway 1 (Hinds Highway) just south of Ashburton from Longbeach Rd to Chatmos Rd. The other is along an 8.5km section of the Methven Highway (SH77) stretching from the outskirts of Ashburton to the Winchmore Hall.”

The underground cable has been laid on the SH1 trial and pole removal work is underway with all 66 poles being removed over the next couple of months. Just over 151 poles will be removed from the Methven highway trial when it’s completed later this year.