February 19, 2019

SSEN VISTA Boat of Garten to Nethy Bridge

Morgan Sindall
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Nicol of Skene was appointed by Morgan Sindall to carry out Directional Drilling works as part of the SSEN VISTA Boat of Garten to Nethy Bridge Project. Nicol of Skene’s works lasted an overall duration of 4 months.

The main aim on the VISTA project was to replace the 12km of existing overhead cables and 46 transmission towers across the countryside with underground cabling. The end client, SSEN were given access to a fund to remove existing cables effecting the visual landscape of national parks and scenic areas whilst aiming to reduce the environmental and economic impact caused by overhead cables. The works took place in and around the village of Boat of Garten which is located within the Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands.

SSEN’s original plan for the project was to open cut the new cable route, however, It was soon brought to attention that this could cause many hindrances to the local area, including the closure of three main roads coming in and out of the village.

As a highly experienced and competent contractor in Horizontal Directional Drilling, Nicol of Skene were appointed by the principle contractor on the project, Morgan Sindall to carry out Horizontal Directional Drilling to install 3003m of 180mm OD ducts, 2002m of 125mm OD ducts and 1083m of 110mm OD ducts.

The use of HDD on this project allowed multiple carriageways and rivers throughout the new underground cable route to be crossed. The drills took place in different locations in and around the surrounding area of Boat of Garten, crossing a railway (The Strathspey Steam Railway), three rivers (The River Spey, The River Nethy, & The Allt Mor River), multiple carriageways (B970, B970 North, Station Road & Loch Garten Road) and The Old Railway Embankment.

Horizontal Directional Drilling not only allowed the pipes and ducts to be installed under these hard to reach areas but also eliminated the need for open cut methods. It reduced potential disruption to the local village and minimised negative environmental impact when compared to using other methods to install pipes / ducts. Along with their high levels of expertise in directional drilling, Nicol of Skene used the Ditch Witch AT100 rig to complete all HDD aspects of the works. Below is some feedback received from the client;

I just wanted to drop you a note to say thanks for completing the HDD works in the original scope on the Vista project. The works were carried out safely, to a high quality and with great environmental considerations in mind throughout. There has been great feedback from both our senior management team as well as the client which stands everyone in good stead for the future.

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