Work Starts on Underground Cabling in Arboretum – Update

The Suburban Land Agency has sent a letter to stakeholders about the transmission line works in the Arboretum. ACTEA has pointed out to the SLA community contacts that the map included in the letter assumes everyone will be travelling on recently bitumenised detour roads. ACTEA has pointed out that this is not helpful to horse riders and they have responded as follows:

The Arboretum will be signposting equestrian friendly detours noting that they cannot use the same tracks as walkers and cyclists (including the recently sealed roads within the Arboretum). The contractor is looking at ways to adjust the River Road access point so that it can also be used by horse riders. The contractor is also looking at adjusting the River Road gate to allow equestrian access between the Arboretum BNT and adjacent reserve.

The northern section of Boundary Road is still open and the horse yard and trough area is still accessible from there.  The south gate on Boundary Road will closed during construction.

There will be further updates as the works move north along Boundary Road.

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Work on the Molonglo 132KV Transmission Line has begun. ACTEA has been contacted by the successful project contractors, Wodens, to advise that the southern terminus of the works will start next week. The project will replace the existing overhead power lines supported by pylons with an underground cable on a more direct route from William Hovell Drive to Tuggeranong Parkway. The route is shown in purple on the map. ACTEA was advised of this proposed project in early 2020 but it has taken this long to get through the approval and tender processes.

The route of the underground cable will impact on equestrian access to the Arboretum both during construction and afterwards.

The cable will be laid in a trench, starting near the Molonglo River and travel northward along the western boundary of the Arboretum in a roughly straight line. This will involve a very large trenching machine followed by smaller kit and the usual tradies trucks and 4x4s. These vehicles will use Clos Bridge to access the Arboretum. There will be a works office and materials dumps which will move northward with the trench.

The works will not impact on the northern boundary of the Arboretum or access from the William Hovell underpass. Wodens do not propose to work on Sundays but will on every second weekend.

Wodens will provide ACTEA with a notional timetable of their proposed progress along Boundary Road but the usefulness will be dependent on the weather – which is not dependable at the moment.

The works will impact on horse riders in 4 ways:

  1. The works at the Tuggeranong Parkway will impact on the section of the National Tral along the Molonglo River for their duration. They will not be crossing the Molonglo.
  1. The vehicles crossing Clos bridge will be a potential hazard for horses. There will be a Traffic Management Plan for the bridge but since there will be a low number of vehicles at the beginning and end of the day there will be no traffic controllers. Vehicles will be told to give way to horses on the bridge. Luckily, there are good sight lines which will enable horse riders to make sensible decisions.
  1. The southern entrance to the Arboretum will be closed while the trenching heads up to Boundary Road and riders will probably have to use the Zoo underpass to access the Arboretum
  1. While Boundary Road will be reinstated as the trenching and cable laying proceeds, the Arboretum has managed to get the project to include bitumening the entire Road. So, we will lose yet another horse friendly route in the Arboretum without any warning or consultation.

Wodens will send ACTEA their Traffic management Plan and a notional timetable for their works which will be circulated and placed on the ACTEA website as soon as it arrives. At the moment it looks like the entire project will be completed in October-November this year and Boundary Road will be sealed in September.

Wodens seem to be willing to help so if there are any issues that come to mind or arise later on please let ACTEA know.

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