London, UK, 13-1-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — The largest vessel of its type in the world will sail up the Tees in the next few weeks – a trip made possible by the fact that National Grid dismantled two pylons and an overhead line crossing the river earlier than planned.
The ship, called Innovation is the largest ‘jack up’ vessel in the world and measures 90 metres high. It will be used to pick up wind turbine foundations and install them offshore in the North Sea.
At the request of PD Ports and MC Construction (Cleveland) Ltd.,National Grid engineers brought forward work to dismantle the two pylons on either side of the river which support power lines to ensure that the vessel will be able to reach its berth.
The work is part of a £50 million project to refurbish and replace sections of overhead line in the Middlesbrough area. Two new, taller pylons which stand 145m high were completed in September this year and new power cables were attached. The old pylons and cables, which are much lower, were removed ahead of schedule allow the Innovation to sail safely upriver.
Mark Serplus from MC Construction, who built the seafastening structures (more than 500 tons of steel in total) for the turbine foundations on Teesside, said: “We are so grateful to National Grid for building new pylons in order to raise the overhead lines to allow this vessel, which is crucial to local industry, to pass under them.”
National Grid brought forward their plans when they were made aware of the possible impact on local industry if the Innovation was unable to dock on the Tees. The new pylons mean that the power line has been moved away from its old route, through a chemical works, to a better location, which is more easily accessible for future maintenance work.
Mark Brennan, Project Manager for National Grid said: “It’s great that we’ve been able to prioritise this refurbishment so that the Innovation will be able to come up the Tees in January. It was a challenging operation but we have successfully raised the wires over the Tees, so that these new types of ship can pass under the line with a safe clearance distance.”
The line over the Tees is part of the network of overhead lines, underground cables and substations that carry high voltage electricity across the country. The £50 million investment will keep the lines in good working order to ensure that everyone has the power they need, safely, and at the touch of a button.
Engineers have replaced wires and repaired and renewed steelwork, foundations and other equipment on a total of 30 pylons. There was no interruption to electricity supplies during the work.
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