Drivers using Matakana Road lately have had to adjust to adding extra minutes to their journeys, as Vector digs a series of sizable holes in the surface of the eastbound lane near its Warkworth substation.
The work is being done to install ducting for a new high voltage power cable, which will help the local grid cope with the anticipated extra growth slated for Warkworth and surrounds over the coming years.
A Vector spokesperson couldn’t say exactly when the cable itself would be installed and working, but said the Matakana Road ducting – and subsequent traffic control – was a vital section of the project.
“The continued growth of the Warkworth area means the two high voltage power lines that supply power to the area from Wellsford have been forecast to reach capacity limits in the coming years,” he said. “We need to make sure we’re ready and able to cope with this growth, so we can meet the changing demands of business and residential customers in the area.”
He conceded that the traffic controls needed to allow the ducting work were frustrating, and thanked drivers for their patience, but said the length of the roadworks would reduce as work progressed.
Vector is also planning to remove the roadworks – stop/go boards during the day and traffic lights at night – for the upcoming public holiday if required.
“We’re planning to reinstate the area and remove traffic management for the long Matariki weekend, as we did over Queen’s Birthday weekend,” the spokesperson said. “However, this may not be necessary if the remaining work isn’t causing much disruption.”
As well as the cable duct installation, Vector has also installed two large-scale battery energy storage systems to help manage demand and make the local network more resilient. The electricity distributor has also been seeking ‘non-wire solutions’ to cope with the expected surge in demand.
“We’ve begun work on a feasibility study into one of the proposals, which we think may have a role in managing periods of high demand, such as cold winter evenings, before the new cable is in place.”
The traffic controls are due to remain in place until July 22.
“We know this can be frustrating for motorists and we thank people for their patience while we complete this important work to reinforce and future-proof the power supply,” Vector said.