Bolte Bridge operation protects critical power infrastructure

6 May 2024

Melbourne's iconic Bolte Bridge witnessed a unique intersection of aviation and energy expertise on Sunday 5 May, with the removal of ageing powerline infrastructure to protect the city’s power supply and public safety.

AusNet is responsible for managing Victoria’s largest energy network, and it partnered with leading energy infrastructure service provider, Zinfra, to successfully carry out the sky-high operation to remove four faulty marker ball flashers from Bolte Bridge’s overhead power lines.

The marker balls, each one metre in diameter and weighing two to five kilograms, were bolted to the transmission lines, requiring careful handling given their size and high altitude.

The complex manoeuvre saw a specialist helicopter navigate the cityscape at dawn to dismantle and transport the devices, originally installed in 1997 to aid Police Air Wing navigation. 

A full closure of the inbound and outbound lanes of the Bolte Bridge was meticulously coordinated while a skilled linesworker transported by a specially designed helicopter, conducted the removal. 

Community members and commuters were witness to the operation, which required careful coordination with local authorities to minimise disruption to traffic and ensure public understanding of the operation’s significance.

The works were carried out under the Transmission Operations and Maintenance Services Agreement (TOMSA) between Zinfra and AusNet which ensures the upkeep and safety of Victoria's energy network.

Peter Iancov, Zinfra Managing Director, said that the operation highlighted Zinfra and AusNet’s unrivalled expertise in infrastructure management and logistically complex projects.

“The safe removal of the marker balls was more than a routine maintenance task. It demonstrated the evolving challenges of infrastructure management in an urban environment and the innovative solutions that companies like Zinfra and AusNet bring to the table.”

“The use of industry specific helicopters represented a strategic choice to ensure efficiency and minimise risk and it is this kind of foresight that sets us apart,” Mr Iancov said.

“The success of the Bolte Bridge operation not only demonstrates our commitment to maintaining a reliable and safe energy network but also highlights our proactive approach to addressing infrastructure challenges,” said AusNet Executive General Manager Network Operations Andrew Linnie.

“Together with Zinfra, we are dedicated to ensuring the safety of the communities we serve,” he said.

Media Contacts:
AusNet Media Manager: Nicci de Ryk -  0401 485 003 
Zinfra Senior Advisor: Mollie Smith - 0403 558 440