Giant drill cuts paths through town riverbed

DIGGING DEEP: Western Power Distribution team manager Dave Price beside the excavation on Albion Street with the Ditch Witch in the background. SG210115-125TW
DIGGING DEEP: Western Power Distribution team manager Dave Price beside the excavation on Albion Street with the Ditch Witch in the background. SG210115-125TW
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Specialist contractors working on a £7million scheme to improve Spalding’s electricity supply are this week drilling two channels under the bed of the River Welland.

Two 130 metre lengths of ducting will go a metre below the riverbed, between Albion Street and Commercial Road, and carry electricity cables inside.

The 160mm diameter ducts are being installed by a ‘Ditch Witch’ with a gigantic drill bit attached to its front.

Directional drilling began on Tuesday and was expected to take four to five days to complete.

Western Power Distribution’s team manager, Dave Price, said: “With no space to run ducting under the bridge for the cables, burying them under the river was our only option.

“Once installed, they will connect up to an additional 7.5km of new cables which have been laid at two electricity substations – one in Clay Lake, the other on Park Road.”

The gigantic drill is stationed on the Albion Street side of the river and will bore pathways to Commercial Road, some six metres below the height of the roads.

Western Power say directional drilling is “an ideal solution” for putting cables under rivers and canals, where digging from above ground is “out of the question”.

There’s been huge traffic disruption at the Twin Bridges and surrounding roads since Western Power resumed work on the massive upgrade to the town’s electricity supply on January 5. There will be further traffic disruption until February 20, including the closure of Albion Street while new cables are laid between February 2-20.

Western Power says the upgrade will “further safeguard supply reliability” to Spalding’s 19,000 customers and cater for additional housing development such as that on Wygate Park.