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NICEĀ® way to reduce roadworks in Greenwich

An innovative trial to reduce the impact of roadworks has been completed in Greenwich.

From Press releases - 5 May 2016 12:00 AM

NICE Innovation (Cable).jpg

An innovative trial to reduce the impact of roadworks has been completed in Greenwich.

UK Power Networks replaced 460-metres of underground electricity cables, without breaking the road surface along the majority of the route.

London’s electricity distribution company teamed up with utilities provider, JSM Group, to test their clever Non-Intrusive Cable Extraction (NICE®) system. The innovative technique reduced a 460-metre long trench to 60-metres of smaller excavations, located at intervals along the route.

It was the first time the method had been trialled around other utility services in a live network environment. While similar trials continue elsewhere in the UK, engineers are optimistic about the potential benefits in London and beyond.

Robin Baldwin, the UK Power Networks Field Engineer managing the trial, said: “This is an innovative way to remove old cables to re-use the route. Because of this technology we were able to replace the cable without closing the road to dig a new trench.

“In this project it reduced our carbon footprint due to lorry movements, as less excavated material was sent to landfill and less new material was delivered to put the road back to normal. There were also safety benefits as less manual labour was required compared to traditional trenching methods.”
The £150,000 trial in Greenwich has been jointly funded by Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) and UK Power Networks.

The equipment was tested in Westcombe Park Road, between Beaconsfield Road and Vanbrugh Fields, as a way to remove cables and replace them with a new cable.

The six-week trial started on March 7 and finished this week. Industry professionals from across the country came to see the process in action and engineers are assessing the impact of the scheme to see if it could be used more widely.

The method uses a unique tool, which fits around the cable, using it as a guide. A small drill rig is then placed inside the excavation to push the tool along the cable. Once the old cable is loosened it is removed and new pipework installed, ready to carry new underground cables.

Once it was set up, the process proved itself capable of replacing up to 60-metres of cables with new pipes in less than half an hour, while the traditional method would involve excavating 460-metres of trench along the route.