Overhead tower lines, Costain

Bringing power to the people

We brought increased power to Cambridgeshire to cope with future demand, using new ways of working to minimise disruption to local communities.

  • Service 1

UK Power Networks

  • Service 1

June 2014 - October 2014

  • Service 1
  • Service 1

Specialist design
Programme management

Key benefits

c. £150m

saved by using an innovative Aerial Catenary Support System


disruption to drivers on the A14 trunk road

Part of the Considerate Contractor scheme

New entrant

increases competition resulting in more efficient working for UKPN


Our team used miniature robot ‘tugs’ to rig new conductors between electricity pylons high above the ground. The industry standard is to erect a large scaffolding structure underneath the line. This is fitted with netting so that in the event of a failure, the conductor drops into the net. However these structures are expensive and difficult to build over larger areas like motorways.

To ensure the people of Fulbourn and Burwell continued to receive a reliable electricity supply, 132kV overhead lines needed to be upgraded. The overhead tower line is around 16km and crosses the busy A14 and farmland. 

Overhead tower lines
Overhead tower lines, Costain
Overhead tower lines crossing road, costain

Minimising disruption to the local communities was a major concern for UK Power Networks. That’s why our innovative way to protect people, roads and railways while renewing overhead power lines was the winning solution.

We didn’t have to make any road closures, nor did we have to turn off the power supply to customers in the area. Instead, we made approximately £150k of savings.

Getting the new system approved involved considerable deployment methodology and effective planning to prove its safety. This process can take three or four years but, thanks to the application of solid engineering principles and a robust design that gained approval from the Highways Agency and UK Power Networks, we achieved this in just six months.

Our system makes replacing conductors more efficient, potentially saving the customer several hundred thousand pounds this year alone. It also greatly reduces disruption to the public.

Neal Carter, Project Manager, Costain

Contact and social


Cameron Tonkin, Sector director
02476 612 777