Fibre Optic Moleplough Ashburton

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Location: Ashburton, Mid-Canterbury
Duration: 2010-2012
Client: Electricity Ashburton Ltd
Delivered on Time and Budget?  Yes

Electricity Ashburton (EA) is the electricity network operator in Mid-Canterbury. Its electrical network business operates between the Rakaia and Rangitata Rivers and from the coast to the middle of the Southern Alps. It also operates a fibre optic broadband network within the same area as its electrical network business and an extension north of the Rakaia River to Leeston and Lincoln.

Electricity Ashburton (EA) is the electricity network operator in Mid-Canterbury. Its electrical network business operates between the Rakaia and Rangitata Rivers and from the coast to the middle of the Southern Alps. It also operates a fibre optic broadband network within the same area as its electrical network business and an extension north of the Rakaia River to Leeston and Lincoln.

In 2008 when Electricity Ashburton commenced installing its fibre optic network, tenders were sought from three major contractors.

Rooney Earthmoving Ltd (REL) was the successful contractor and since being appointed as EA’s preferred fibre optic contractor, REL have laid over 300km of fibre optic micro ducting around the Ashburton District and also up to Lincoln. All this work has been completed to the required standard by REL’s mole plough crew.

Based on their experience with laying fibre optic micro ducting, REL was the natural choice for Electricity Ashburton to turn to when considering installing a 75mm diameter 22kV power cable, a 40mm fibre optic micro duct and safety warning strip all in the one plough run.

After a short 400m trial on a quiet rural road, REL’s next job was to install 5.5km of this combination on SH1. Owing to the size, weight and large bending radius of the 22kV power cable, a new, bigger and stronger mole plough was constructed to achieve the task. Installation on SH1 was started in December 2011 and successfully completed in January 2012.

In addition to the above work, during Stages 1, 2 and 3 of the EA fibre rollout, REL have successfully completed directional drilling in urban Ashburton streets and the CBD as well as many pipe rams and thrusts under rural SH1 and the main trunk rail line.

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