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Subsea cable drilling starts below the Solent

Construction of the first subsea cable to be placed in the Solent for 40 years has got underway this week with horizontal directional drilling (HDD) work in Thorness Bay on the Isle of Wight.

Volker Infra and VSMC are working in joint venture on the £13M contract for Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD) to build the 5.7km 132kV electricity supply cable.

The cable will run from Lepe in Hampshire to Thorness Bay and be built using a combination of HDD and cut and cover techniques.

Work on the first phase involving 875m of HDD has started and will be completed in November. The second phase will start in April next year .

“At present, we have three subsea cables between the island and the mainland but only two of them are buried beneath the seabed,” said SEPD head of capital project delivery Chandra Trikha. “This new cable will replace the third cable, which is presently laid on the seabed, where it has been damaged by boats anchors and its movement due to marine action. This all means that on completion of the project, all of the island’s electricity supplies will be provided by subsea cables which are securely located out of harm’s way.”

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