After a break for winter, work on a $100million upgrade to the national grid is set to resume in Central Otago.

Next month, Transpower crews begin works on the transmission line in the Alexandra area for the next stage of the Clutha Upper Waitaki Lines Project.

The Pines will be a hive of activity with some areas closed to the public or alternative routes signposted and managed.

The works are part of Transpower’s upgrade of the national grid Roxburgh to Livingstone on the Roxburgh to Islington 220kV line.

Wiring crews are replacing the existing single electrical wire with two wires (known as duplexing) on the transmission line to increase the northward transmission capacity for New Zealand from about 600MW at present to about 1000MW.

Clutha Upper Waitaki Lines Project manager Neville Cole said the company was working hard to minimise the impact of the project to the public.

Works begin in early October, and are expected to be completed in November, dependant on constraints such as weather and any further Covid-19 restrictions.

Parts of the line are accessible to the public by a network of recreational tracks, trails, and Clutha River users by recreational craft.

The Alexandra section of the project Earnscleugh crossing points of the Otago Central Rail Trail (at Dunstan and Galloway roads), The Pines, the Millennium Track and the walking and 4WD trails on the north side of the Clutha River where the transmission line is overhead.

Members of the public would see heavy trucks and equipment, materials, hurdles, signage, crews and their vehicles, and walk-through containers (for the Rail Trail).

“To ensure the health and safety of the general public and crews there will be no public access to the transmission line corridor.

“Public access will still be available to other areas with alternative routes signposted, and traffic management in place for the community,” Mr Cole said.

The following areas will be closed: the transmission line corridor south of State Highway 8 to the Central Otago District Council cleanfill site at the end of Maclean Rd, walkways at the end of Wildflower Way and Pines Rd that access The Pines, and vehicle access to the 4WD track next to the Dunstan Park development (pedestrian and cycle access will remain available).

Walkers, cyclists, horse riders and drivers of 4WD vehicles will see stop/go traffic management in place where the transmission line crosses the following areas; The Millennium Track, the walking and 4WD trails on the north side of the Clutha river, either side of State Highway 8 at The Pines.

Mr Cole said these areas would be open to the public, but with some stop/go access management.

The rail trail would remain open, and special walk-through containers would be in place to allow the community to move through the area.

People were asked to beware of work overhead on the transmission line, follow any instructions of the work crews and respect the closed areas.