Clear the roads as mammoth spectacle heads for Dunton this weekend

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Two large supergrid transformer deliveries will be made to the new Biggleswade substation on 11 and 18 February

Villages around Biggleswade will be able to see an amazing sight over the next two weekends as giant transformers – each weighing the same as 30 African elephants – are slowly moved to their new destination in Dunton.

National Grid is delivering two large supergrid transformers to its new Biggleswade substation in Dunton to provide a new connection for UK Power Networks, that will increase power capacity in Biggleswade and help the community move towards a low carbon economy.

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And the company is asking residents not to park near key sites during the trip, to allow the giant transformers to be delivered smoothly.

A typical transformer movement by National Grid, coming to Dunton this weekendA typical transformer movement by National Grid, coming to Dunton this weekend
A typical transformer movement by National Grid, coming to Dunton this weekend

Each transformer, weighing in at 178-tonnes, will make its way from Tilbury Docks on Sunday 11 and Sunday 18 February.

The transformers will be delivered from the docks on a large specialist vehicle travelling at a maximum speed of 10-15 mph with a police escort. The convoy travels from Tilbury via the M11, leaving at junction 10. It then heads west towards Royston continuing up the A1198 and then the B1042 on its way to Dunton. It is expected to arrive in the Dunton area from 3.30pm onwards.

The route has been carefully planned in collaboration with highway authorities and the police to minimise disruption and those directly affected have been informed. Dunton residents have been asked not to park on the following roads and pavements so the transporter convoy can pass safely through to the substation: Biggleswade Road, The High Street, Cambridge Road.

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A temporary parking suspension will be in place on these roads between 1pm and 6pm on the 11 and 18 February, or until the vehicle passes.

Local councillor Dr Hayley Whitaker said on social media: “I am told this will be a once in a lifetime event given the rarity of installing such mammoth infrastructure in the UK.

“The convoy will travel via Royston, through Eyeworth and Dunton. Local Independent councillors have cited the potential difficulties they may face getting through 'the bends' in between Wrestlingworth and Dunton but the contractor says they are certain it will squeeze round!”

Carl Swan, Project Engineer for National Grid says: “These transformer movements have been many months in the planning, and we’ve worked hard to minimise any disruption that deliveries of this kind can cause. We appreciate the cooperation and understanding of the local community during this vital work ensuring the resilience of our energy network.”

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The vehicle will have a police escort to help manage traffic and some street furniture in Dunton will be temporarily removed so the transporter convoy can progress through the village.

Individuals planning to travel along the route of the transformer movement from the M11 are advised to find alternative routes or allow additional journey time.

Transformers play a vital role in helping to ensure the UK continues to enjoy safe and reliable energy supplies. They’re needed to maintain secure electricity supplies to the surrounding area and meet increased demand, as part of the Biggleswade substation construction.

Construction of the new National Grid 400kV substation is part of Central Bedfordshire Council’s initiative to support the planned housing growth of around 3,000 homes to the east of the town.