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132 KV Powerline Relocation Project

Frequently Asked Questions 

Baclground and details

The Molonglo 132 kilovolt (kV) Powerline Relocation Project will see the replacement of the existing overhead high voltage electricity transmission lines that transect the Molonglo 3 urban development area, including across the new suburb of Whitlam, with underground electrical transmission lines. An example of the overhead powerlines to be removed is shown in Figure 4.

Figure 1: Example of overhead tower/lines to be removed.

The project is being delivered by the Suburban Land Agency in partnership with Evoenergy. Stage 1 of project is the replacement of the existing overhead Holt to Woden powerlines into underground conduits and pits, and the provision of conduits and pits for Stage 2. The second stage of the works, which is expected to occur around 2030, involves the replacement of the overhead Civic to Woden line into the underground conduits and pits constructed in Stage 1.

Why are you doing this?

It will provide a better urban development outcome in Molonglo whilst improving the land efficiency and returns to the community through additional land becoming available.

What is the alignment?

The alignment for the new underground cables will run along the western edge of Whitlam to William Hovell Drive, head east along William Hovell Drive to Coulter Drive and then head south down the future urban edge of Molonglo (adjacent to the Arboretum) before reconnecting to the existing overhead transmission line on the eastern side of the Tuggeranong Parkway, near the Molonglo River.  

Are underground cables safe?

Yes, they will meet the highest electrical safety standards, similar to underground powerline projects in other states and territories. The electrical cables will be installed within conduits and electrical pits, which are located outside the urban edge within generous easements along the full length of the alignment.  The lines are also well away from where homes will be built in the future. The works will be designed and constructed to meet Evoenergy’s requirements. 

Will the work have any environmental or heritage impact?

The works will have minimal environmental impact as they occur within the future Molonglo Urban Development area which has a number of environmental clearances already in place.  The alignment also avoids all Molonglo environmental offset areas.  The alignment has been developed in conjunction with the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate and minimises impact on existing trees and vegetation.  The full alignment has also undergone a heritage assessment.

How long will the works take? Including When.

Construction work is estimated to commence in early 2022 and will take approximately 12 months to complete. Commencement of work is subject to approval of the Development Application (currently being assessed by the ACT Planning and Land Authority). 

Will this work have any impact on residents of Whitlam, Denman Prospect and other suburbs?

The work will have little impact on new residents of Whitlam, Denman Prospect or other suburbs.  The trenching and cable installation works will occur on the outside urban edge of Whitlam, having minimal on residents. The decommissioning of the towers will occur through parts of future stages of Whitlam, well before new residents commence building on their blocks. In the long term the project will provide a positive benefit on the community, with the removal of unsightly infrastructure from the landscape. The associated maintenance tracks will also provide access vehicles to respond to bushfires.