Arncliffe to Rockdale cable project

 A similar cable project in progress

Ausgrid is planning to retire the Arncliffe substation to maintain a safe and reliable power supply to electricity users in the Arncliffe, Rockdale and surrounding areas.  The project involves installing new 11,000 Volt underground cables to connect to Ausgrid's recently constructed Rockdale substation.

Project need

Our Arncliffe substation is nearing the end of its service life. Before it can be taken out of service, the power supply needs to be transferred to the new Rockdale substation.  

Planning cable projects

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
  • coordinating works with other infrastructure projects.

Ausgrid has investigated and decided on a cable route for this project, taking into consideration the above factors - please see the route map via the link at the top right of this page. 

In between the Arncliffe and Rockdale substations is the Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra train line. The opportunities to cross this line are limited so this has also influenced the planning of the route.Crossing the rail line will involve boring underneath it from one side to the other. Site investigations show that the best location to do this is between the corner of Somerville and Gore Streets on the northern side of the rail line and Hattersley Street on the southern side. 

Project status

The project was approved for construction in late August 2017.

Site investigations to confirm the final location of cables in the road will happen in October 2017. Work to install the cables will start once the investigations have finished. 

Construction should be finished in late 2017, however work to install the new cables in streets is expected to be completed by mid-2018. Work to install the cables under the rail line and retire the Arncliffe the substation will extend into 2019. Ausgrid will keep residents, businesses and other stakeholders updated on what to expect during the project stages. 

Project approval process

Ausgrid is the approving authority for these works under the NSW Environmental Planning & Assessment Act. As part of the approval process, we have completed an environmental assessment for this project to investigate the potential environmental impacts associated with construction, operation and maintenance of the new cables.  

The assessment included specialist studies and input from Bayside Council and other relevant authorities. It also recommends mitigation measures as required to ensure any impacts are minimised and are at acceptable levels.

Community engagement

We started engaging with Bayside Council about the project in April 2017 and has also been coordinating with other authorities about their work in the area.

Engagement with residents and businesses located along and around the proposed cable route started in May 2017 with door knocks and face to face meetings. The first project newsletter was distributed in June 2017 to introduce the project to the community. A second newsletter was issued in September 2017 to provide more detailed information about what to expect during construction. Copies of the newsletters can be found on the right hand side of this page. 
On 20 June and 22 June, 2017, we held two information sessions, one at the Rockdale Library and the other at the Arncliffe Community Centre, to seek local information and community feedback on proposed cable route. 

At the community information sessions, members of the project team gave two presentations -  on project need and what to expect during construction of a typical underground 11,000 Volt cable project. The presentation can be viewed via the link on the right of this page.

Ausgrid will continue to engage with the community and stakeholders during each stage of the project.  We welcome questions or comments about the project at any time (see project contacts top right). Community feedback assists us to identify all potential issues and address them in our construction plans to minimise impacts.


This project involves installing new 11,000 volt cables through Arncliffe, Banksia and Rockdale via trenching in roads and an under bore for the rail crossing. In some locations, the cables will be installed into existing conduits.  As with any construction work, there will be some noise and dust, and temporary traffic, access and parking disruptions, but we will make every effort to keep these to a minimum. 

Construction will involve:

  • digging trenches, approximately 1.5 metres 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 at various locations along the route in the road to feed in and join cables together
  • feeding in and joining the cables can take several weeks to complete
  • boring under the Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra train line, using Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD)
  • work on the joint bays usually occurs in distinct stages
  • typically, restoration work is done in two stages; excavated sections of road are refilled immediately and temporarily resurfaced to allow normal use by traffic
  • final restoration is completed in consultation with Bayside Council and relevant authorities either as sections of work are completed or once the overall project is finished.

Any potential impacts associated with this work are assessed as part of the project's environmental assessment and measures will be put in place to minimise impacts on the community and local environment.

Ausgrid's work hours are 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. Some night work will be required on Forest Road and the Princes Highway to minimise the impact on traffic, businesses and the general community during the day.  We would contact affected community members in advance of this work with more information.  


Arncliffe substation

Work to retire the Arncliffe substation will begin once the new cables are installed and connected to the Rockdale substation and the electricity load has been transferred.
Activities to retire the substation would include:

  • disconnecting, removing, and making safe electrical equipment that is no longer required
  • transporting other materials off site to be reused where possible
  • once the substation has been retired, Ausgrid will consider future use.