Heavy Gear

Back in January we had some exciting construction work happen on the farm. We have a *lot* of infrastructure running across the property. Down in the stream paddock we have the water main and gas main for Wellington. We also have lots of power lines. Down front is a 33 / 11 kV line that feeds the valley and Churton park further down (found this out 4 years ago when a tree limb on our place clipped the 33 kV line and blacked out Churton Park). We have two big steel power pylons (a 110 kV and a 66 kV line) on the hill directly behind the house, and then there are a bunch of 33kV lines on wooden poles crossing the place, and way up the back are the wires of a 220kV line- the pylon itself is not on our property, but is very near the boundary fence. All these lines are here because 1.5 km further up the valley is the Takapu substation.

Anyway, the 66kV line pylon needed maintenance. They wanted to pour concrete foots for it, as the steel legs were just stuck into the ground (attached to other steel cross pieces about a meter down). Turns out that pylon was built in the 1920’s!

To get the concrete up to the tower the contractor had custom-build his own tracked concrete mixer. A very cool bit of equipment. A wide piece of equipment. 3 meters wide. Barely-fits-through-the-gate wide.

getting ready It's coming! Compare the treads to the concrete tracks where regular car wheels go... and on up the hill

The guys doing the work were efficient and friendly. They even gave us a bit of “freebie” digger work during cleanup. There was one problem. One of the concrete trucks arrived before the tracked mixer had come back down. The driver tried to be “helpful” and drove across the bridge and up to the house. Unfortunately, 22 tons of “helpful” broke our bridge. We didn’t realize this until after we returned from CF and asked “why does the car bottom out on the street side of the bridge now”? Well, because one corner of the bridge is about 10cm lower than it was before!

They (Transpower/ United Gooder / Allied Concrete) are paying for the bridge to be fixed. There was a possibility that we might get a brand new bridge, but now it looks like they are simply going to repair the existing structure. In theory work should start this coming week. I hope it does, the corner of the bridge is slowly getting lower and lower…