Fatal accident on north shore leads to year-long delay in Kirrawee road works

Kirrawee road upgrade project. Picture: Chris Lane
Kirrawee road upgrade project. Picture: Chris Lane

A ban on work involving live power lines following the death of an Ausgrid worker has caused a year-long delay in the completion of a major road upgrade at Kirrawee.

The Princes Highway project was due to be completed by the end of 2019, but is now expected to take till the end of this year.

The Ausgrid worker received a fatal shock while working on power lines at Riverview, on the lower north shore, in April 2019.

Ausgrid imposed "a pause" on work involving live power lines, which was lifted in December 2019 following a safety review.

A Transport for NSW spokesman said, following the accident, "Ausgrid placed a ban on work involving live power lines to allow the Coroner and SafeWork NSW to investigate the accident".

"This resulted in unforeseen delays, but Transport for NSW is working to ensure the remaining work is completed as soon as possible," he said.

"Work to improve traffic flow along the Princes Highway at Kirrawee will be completed in stages by the end of 2020.

MPs Mark Speakman, Eleni Petinos and Lee Evans with Roads and Maritime Services officers in March, 2018, announcing the start of work. Picture: John Veage

MPs Mark Speakman, Eleni Petinos and Lee Evans with Roads and Maritime Services officers in March, 2018, announcing the start of work. Picture: John Veage

"Motorists are already benefiting from improvements to the intersection of President Avenue and Princes Highway (Acacia Road), while a new left turn slip lane from Princes Highway onto Kingsway is also helping to ease congestion.

"The next stage of work will provide even more benefits including a new right turn lane from the Princes Highway northbound onto Kingsway, and a new southbound left turn lane from Oak Road into Princes Highway.

"The community and motorists are thanked for their patience while work is carried out."

An Ausgrid spokesman said some live work on the electricity network had resumed with additional safety measures following a comprehensive safety review.

"The progressive recommencing of live work, which had been paused last year after one of our workers tragically lost his life completing live work on the network, means that projects such as the Princes Highway upgrade at Kirrawee are able to resume," he said.

"Transport for NSW has engaged a contractor, known as an accredited service provider, to conduct the work required to relocate electrical utilities as part of the upgrade to the Princes Highway at Kirrawee.

"Ausgrid is working closely with Transport for NSW and the accredited service provider completing this work to prioritise and complete the work as as quickly as possible.

"We acknowledge that the pause on live work has caused some disruptions, however, we must ensure workers can go home to their loved ones safely at the end of the day."