More than £1.5m has been invested in an initiative to boost power supplies in Cwmbran.

Western Power Distribution, the electricity distributor for the region, is playing a crucial role as part of the construction of a new £350m critical care hospital being built on the outskirts of Cwmbran.

Work on the 560-bed Grange University Hospital, which began in spring 2017, is due to be completed by autumn 2020.

WPD has installed more than 16km of 11kV electricity cable and communication infrastructure across a large area of Cwmbran to bring power to the hospital as part of its £1.5m network investment.

Ty Coch-based planner Rhys James, who worked on the project, said: “Our primary substation is located in the heart of Cwmbran, but this is some distance away from the hospital site.

“Installing the electricity cables to the hospital has involved extensive excavations through the main shopping area and residential housing estates, along narrow streets, beneath an old railway bridge and across playing fields.

“During the next phase we will be excavating across and under the Afon Llwyd river and beneath a by-pass road with a large and busy roundabout.”

He said specialist drilling equipment will be used to install a pipe large enough to carry three cable ducts containing the 11kV service cables. Two cables will feed the hospital with the third as a back-up. The hospital will also have its own back-up generators.

The cables will emerge in the hospital grounds and connect to a new substation built on the site. This will be energised at the end of March.

Rhys said WPD’s work had not been without its technical challenges and a key part of the project had been making sure residents and businesses were aware of why it was so vital to the hospital.

“On the whole everyone has been very understanding and we would like to thank residents and businesses who have been affected by the work for their patience. During our excavations supplies to customers have not been affected.”

Further excavation work and directional drilling will begin over the next few weeks across and under the river, and beneath the A4042 by-pass road and roundabout in Croesyceiliog.