Starting construction

Thursday, February 03, 2022

Map of the South Waikato National Grid Connection route

Construction of the South Waikato National Grid Connection is ready to begin.

We’re excited to get construction underway. It’s a project ten-years in the making - from first identifying the need to future-proof South Waikato’s electricity supply to turning the first sod.

The new 110kV connection between Arapuni and Putāruru will deliver reliable electricity supply to support regional growth in South Waikato now and into the future.

Northpower has been selected as our construction contractor to build the connection, which is a combination of underground cable and overhead line.


Working with the community

Community input into the route was sought during the project planning phase, and the feedback we received was invaluable to improving the route.
If you took the time to share your thoughts about the route and the detailed design – thank you.

The final part of the route to be confirmed was the overhead section past the Duxfield Reserve.

Options to build the line through farmland around the Reserve were investigated, however the necessary landowner agreements were not able to be obtained. The connection will now be built within road reserve next to the Reserve.

To minimise visual impact on the Reserve, which has a significant landscape amenity designation, Powerco is now seeking consent from the Council to build six 20 metre poles, otherwise eleven 12 metre poles will be installed as permitted under the District Plan. 

The team will also be looking to work with the community on beautification projects in and around the Reserve.


Getting the mix right

The connection will be built as overhead line, with underground cable used at the start and end points. 

We're building a solution that will provide safe and reliable electricity supply at a reasonable cost. This is important given the cost is passed back to our customers through their electricity bill. We’re achieving that by using a combination of overhead lines and underground cable for this project.

For the majority of the route overhead lines are the best option – they’re cost-effective, and can be safely placed well within road reserve.

At each end of the connection we need to use underground cable because it’s safer. In those sections the road reserve is very narrow, and at the Arapuni end there are existing Transpower pylons we can’t build near.

The placement of poles for the overhead sections have been designed with safety in mind. While Arapuni Road is not a state highway, the decision was made early on to build the connection to Waka Kotahi traffic safety standards. The independent safety designer engaged to do the design also worked in collaboration with the South Waikato District Council’s traffic safety experts.


Next steps

Over January 2022, civil and surveying contractors have been pre-checking sites and completing geotechnical sampling in preparation.

Enabling works are now beginning. Northpower will be working to remove some of our existing overhead poles and lines along parts of Arapuni Road and installing underground cable. This work will continue through to July 2022 (weather-permitting).

Construction of the connection will go through until March 2023 at this stage. Once built, the connection will ensure there’s enough electricity for homes and businesses as the South Waikato region continues to grow.

If you’re driving between Arapuni and Putāruru you may see our contractors working along the roadside. Traffic management will be in place at times – please take care and be patient.