Top Ryde to Wentworth Point cable project

 An example of an underground cable project in construction

Ausgrid is replacing cables between Top Ryde and Wentworth Point via Meadowbank substation as the existing cables need to be retired from service.

Project need

Ausgrid had identified the need to replace existing cables between Top Ryde substation and our network connection point on Hill Road at Wentworth Point by late 2018. 

The existing 132,000 volt underground cables are nearing the end of their service life and are being replaced so Ausgrid can maintain a reliable electricity supply in the future. The project is also part of a network wide program to retire fluid filled cables, particularly in areas where there are water crossings. The current cables cross Parramatta River. 

Planning cable projects

Planning a cable route can take a number of  years. There are a number of considerations to factor in while planning cable routes. These include:

  • community impacts
  • availability of space around existing utility services
  • environmental and heritage impacts
  • cost (minimising the impact on electricity bills)
  • technical feasibility
  • traffic impacts
  • crossing Parramatta River, the Northern rail line and major roads.

Project status

Top Ryde to Wentworth Point cable project and community engagement timeline

Project approval process

Ausgrid is responsible for assessing and approving works under the Top Ryde to Wentworth Point cable project. This process includes preparation of an environmental assessment (Review of Environmental Factors or REF). The REF includes a range of specialist studies and input from the community, councils and other authorities.

The REF was on exhibition for comment until Monday 20 June 2016 to Friday 22 July 2016. Ausgrid considered all submissions as part of the process of assessing the project for construction approval. The final REF can be viewed via the link on the right hand side of the page and the summary of submissions can be read by going to the community information and presentations section. The project is now in the construction stage.

Community engagement

Preparations to replace these cables started in late 2013. This process involved engaging with local councils and Members of Parliament in the areas where the new cables could be laid. 

Following the initial round of consultation, the project team drew up a range of possible routes for discussion and feedback at a community workshop in early September 2014. Workshop participants included representatives from community and local business groups, utilities and other interested community members. Local residents, along with representatives from utilities, councils, businesses, and community groups worked together with Ausgrid to look at possible route options for the project and to provide feedback on potential issues in local areas. The feedback included route suggestions, information on local environmental, historical factors and planned developments, as well as traffic issues. A summary of the workshop feedback can viewed by clicking on the community information and presentations link on the right hand side of this page.

Information from the workshop assisted with development of preferred routes for the section between Top Ryde and Wentworth Point. Construction has started and is scheduled to be completed by mid 2018. 

Note: The section to be replaced between East Ryde and Top Ryde is not due to be constructed until 2019 and is currently being planned. Information from the workshop has been used as part of the planning is process - see the project web page for more information.

Ausgrid held community sessions in late November 2014 to seek feedback on the preferred routes between Top Ryde and Wentworth Point and provide information about the proposal. A summary of the community sessions feedback can be viewed by clicking on the community information and presentations link on the right hand side of this page.

After considering and addressing feedback from the community and further planning, Ausgrid selected a preferred cable route between Top Ryde and Wentworth Point for environmental assessment. The environmental assessment was put on public exhibition for comment by interested members of the community and all submissions were considered as part of the project approval process. A summary of the submissions report is available via the link at the top right of this page. 

The cable route includes a section on the old Meadowbank Railway Bridge, which is used as a pedestrian/cyclist bridge. See more information on community engagement for this part of the route in the section below.

People interested in finding out more about the project are encouraged to contact the project team via the contacts at top right. 

Old Meadowbank Railway Bridge

The cable route includes a section which crosses the Parramatta River on the old Meadowbank Railway Bridge. The bridge provides pedestrian and cyclist access across the river. The new cables will be installed under the shared path and will not cause any permanent changes to the Bridge.

As it was identified during planning that the bridge was likely to be closed for a period during construction, Ausgrid completed targeted consultation to better understand potential impacts to help minimise disruption to bridge users. For more information on this engagement click here.

Ausgrid conducted a survey of people who use the pedestrian/cycleway on the old Meadowbank Railway Bridge. Almost 600 people completed the survey, providing valuable feedback which has been used to help plan the work in a way which reduces the impact on bridge users. Survey results have been analysed and a summary of key findings can be seen in the community information and presentations section.

After considering community feedback and working closely with bicycle user groups such as Bicycle NSW, Ausgrid and our contractors have been able to revise the planned methodology so that the bridge will no longer need to be closed during construction.

The planned bridge construction is summarised below:

  • No bridge closure required
  • Bridge to remain open to users during construction
  • Work zone to move progressively across the Bridge with access narrowed at the construction area - cyclists will be required to dismount in this section
  • Work at night is no longer required
  • Construction on the bridge to occur when bridge traffic volumes are lower. This will also avoid the annual Spring Cycle.


Construction has already started and work will continue progressively within the roadway along the cable route.  Depending on ground conditions, around 30 metres of work is being completed each day, which means the work zone is in front of most properties for a couple of days. 

Like any construction work, the project involves noise and dust, and temporary traffic and parking disruptions, which we work to reduce.

Some areas such as Princes and Squire Streets have already been identified by the community during consultation as busy areas and this has been factored into our traffic management plans.

Click here to view an information graphic showing the stages of cable laying.

Typically construction activities include:

  • digging trenches, approximately 800mm to 1400mm wide, to lay conduits (plastic pipes) to hold the new cables
  • filling trenches and resurfacing the area temporarily
  • trenching and resurfacing takes about three days outside each property depending on ground and weather conditions
  • excavating underground joint bays every 900 metres along the route in the road to feed in and join cables together
  • feeding in and joining the cables, which take two to four months to complete
  • work on the joint bays usually occur in distinct stages
  • final restoration is completed in consultation with local councils and relevant authorities either as sections of work are completed or once the overall project is finished.