It is a summer day at the end of July and the sun is beating down on the Albula Pass. The four new pylons on the extra-high-voltage line gleam silver. It is hard to believe that the snow was several metres deep here just a few weeks before and the thermometer showed -18 degrees. But those were the conditions faced by workers in mid-April when they started maintenance activities on the 380-kV lines between Pradella and Sils.
The repairs were needed after extremely high winds from the storm front Vaia knocked over four pylons near the top of the pass in the night of 29 to 30 October 2018. The affected 380-kV lines had been out of service ever since. Although they are very important, Swissgrid did not implement a temporary solution for safety reasons.
First, access to the top of the pass had to be ensured. With that in mind, the canton of Graubünden’s civil engineering department cleared the pass road from the Engadine side. In places, the machines had to cut through metre-high snow.