John Hart Dam road to re-open after three years

For the first time in three years, the public will be able to driver across the John Hart Dam beginning April 30.

That’s when BC Hydro partially re-opens the road after being closed to allow for work on the John Hart Generating Replacement Project.

“We committed to the community that we would open the road after three years and while the main project elements at the new water intake are complete and on schedule, there’s still work to do,” says BC Hydro’s Stephen Watson. “We are trying to follow through on respecting the interests of the community, while at the same time balance the needs of the project and safely completing the work at the dam.”

Brewster Lake Road will be open on weekends and statutory holidays, though on Monday to Friday it will be closed from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on April 30 and to the end of May.

“This road closure schedule will hopefully allow commuters or travellers to move to their destination in the morning and then back in the late afternoon, while at the same time allowing our contractor a time in the day to move in equipment and complete work on the downstream side of the dam. We also strongly encourage, for safety, that drivers keep their eyes on the road and not look at the construction site. No stopping on the dam will be allowed.”

BC Hydro’s contractor InPower BC began work on the John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project in summer 2014 and closed the road across the dam in April 2015 to construct the new water intake facility. The road is anticipated to fully open in June with temporary road closures anticipated towards the end of the summer for project work and the annual spillway gate maintenance work. Decommissioning work to plug the old water intake and remove the above ground penstocks leading from the dam may begin in late fall.

“There will be safety signage posted at the dam for vehicle traffic only, during the period when it’s open in May, but there will be no pedestrian traffic allowed at any time across the dam through likely June given the site activity,” said Watson.

The continued permanent access to Elk Falls and the suspension bridge is through the new access road, 80-spot parking lot and trail system that was put in place in 2015. The old road access to Elk Falls beside the John Hart dam has been permanently closed off.