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John Hart Hydro project update

More truck traffic, updates on blasting and parking, and a review of where the project is at

Hauling has begun on the John Hart project and BC Hydro is warning drivers to be aware of increased truck traffic on the Gold River Highway.

Stephen Watson, spokesperson for BC Hydro, said the trucks are travelling to two different disposal sites and are following routes that keep them on both Highway 28 and Highway 19.

“Increased truck traffic has already begun on Highway 28, heading both east and west of Surge Tower Road and the construction site,” Watson wrote in a construction update report. “Drivers should be aware of increasing truck turns from site access.”

The trucks are coming and going from the access road to the city’s drinking water facility which also leads to ‘ground zero’ where construction crews are blasting to make way for a new underground John Hart Generating Station and a single tunnel to replace the three existing pen stocks.

Above ground blasting is already underway and blasting is expected to move underground next month.

It’s estimated that up to 300,000 cubic metres of rock will be removed from the ground over a two-year period and hauled to two different locations – one on Farwell Road and the other at Middle Point.

At peak blasting, six to eight trucks per hour will be hauling to and from the construction site off Highway 28, 24 hours a day.

Meanwhile, project contractor Aecon SNC-Lavalin Joint Venture recently completed a bridge over the penstocks to give construction crews access to the north portal. Tree clearing around the north portal, on BC Hydro property, has also been completed and overburden clearing and removal from the site is ongoing, Watson said.

Construction crews also remain on track to close Brewster Lake Road, which will include a  re-build of the Brewster Lake bridge, in January of 2015 for up to three years.

Prior to that, a new non-public parking site is being created on Surge Tower Road, next to the city’s water treatment plant, to accommodate a small number of

vehicles.

The majority of workers, however, will use an off-site parking lot at the former Campbellton school which will be converted into project office space and a storage warehouse for at least five years.

“There is limited parking and laydown at the John Hart site, as well as other considerations such as deliveries and storage,” Watson said. “The off-site hub will reduce traffic on Highway 28 as most of the worker traffic is eliminated given the Campbellton parking and busing to the site.

A development permit has now been granted by the City of Campbell River for the renovation of the existing buildings and addition of temporary structures.”

The $1 billion John Hart replacement project is expected to last until 2018.