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From giraffes to vessels – how we’re helping move big loads around WA

Helping a giraffe cross the road. Transporting ships to harbour. Making way for super-sized mining dump trucks. Lifting powerlines for oversized loads is something we do all the time to keep WA moving smoothly and support businesses and the economy.

There’s certain things industries and businesses need to consider when moving oversized loads or heavy haulage around the State. One of them is the height of powerlines. Any load movement through our network that’s higher than 4.3m high requires clearance from Western Power and Main Roads to ensure it can be transported safely.

Not all our powerlines are the same height either, it varies depending on the surrounding environment and voltage. Clearly understanding the risks involved when transporting high or wide loads, will avoid any potential damage to the network and ensure continued power supply to our customers, as well as the safety of all those involved.  A transport management plan – which is a requirement of all transport operators, helps to identify the various risks.

Not only can we raise the powerlines, we also provide escorts where required to help make the move from A to B as safe as possible.

From the practical to the obscure, we lift powerlines and provide support for all sorts of load movements including:

  • Mining equipment – transporting dump trucks, conveyer systems, holding tanks and other equipment for mining companies in WA
  • Houses – from builders/ manufacturers that need to move a house to a regional area
  • Boats – this includes recreational boats and yachts to large scale vessels
  • Farming equipment – tanks and silos
  • Trees – anything from large Boab trees in Kings Park to smaller trees for new developments
  • Zoo animals – we’ve previously assisted in safely moving giraffes on a number of occasions to and from Perth Zoo.

Facilitating Austal’s big sea moves

Austal – an Australian based global ship builder located in Henderson requires our services on a regular basis to help move their large-scale vessels ready for deployment. Every three months a newly built ship needs to be transported from Austal’s building facility to Henderson Port, and on occasion, multiple vessels are required to be moved consecutively at any given time.

It’s a complex job, but with all hands on deck we make it work. Together with Main Roads, a lot of detailed planning and coordination occurs with Austal to ensure every move goes smoothly and safely without impacting the network or customers’ power supply.

It’s not uncommon for us to close sections of the road and transmission lines during a move, while crews lift powerlines and walk beside the ship to ensure the load arrives at its destination without a hitch. When moving through residential or commercial areas, our team in the Network Operations Control Centre is always on hand, backfeeding power around the network to ensure nearby homes and businesses have power supply.

Although supporting WA businesses like these is just a small part of what we do at Western Power, the impact is huge and helps keep WA and the economy moving in the right direction.