John Hart project team battled poor weather

A view of the construction from the John Hart Dam.

The snow and ice this winter lead to challenges for the crews working on the John Hart Generating Station over the winter, but construction progressed none the less, according to the February Community Construction Update report.

In order to continue meeting all environmental standards during both the snow fall and the inevitable melt, the environmental management team had to think fast.

Rather than using sand and salt, that would later run off into the wetlands, to keep the workways clear of ice, they spread fine gravel over the roads for traction.

Water treatment plant operators took special steps to ensure the continued operation of their units, including building tarp shelters and adding heaters to prevent lines from freezing.

To prepare for large amounts of meltwater, the project team cleaned out the tunnel entrance sumps, removed snow from the main site and cleared snow from high traffic areas.

Despite the snow, the project continued.

At the moment, the lower gate guides, which are rails that will guide the sliding of the large gates, are being aligned upstream of the dam. The painting of the lower sections is complete and installation of the upper gate guides is underway.

Under the dam, the drilling of the second six metre section of tunnel is underway and expected to be completed in March.

Excavation of the power tunnel reached 1,125 metres in February, according to the report, with 450 metres left to go. It is expected to be complete by summer.

The powerhouse concrete placements and hydroelectric component installation work continues and the tailrace tunnel is now around 75 per cent complete. Once the generating station is operational, the water will go from the surge chamber to the tailrace tunnel where it will flow down and discharge into the Campbell River, the report explains. The tunnel is 6.5 metres wide and 10.7 metres high which makes it a little bit bigger than the power tunnel.

The report also outlines what comes next in the project schedule.

In April, the crews begin the process of removal of the cofferdam and approach channel. In May, work will begin on a roadway to the new surge tank site and construction will begin on the low level outlet, which is the water discharge works that will replace the spillway gates in providing flows down the Elk Falls canyon.

In June, concrete work will begin at the new surge tank site.

According to the report, the tailrace tunnel is set to be complete in July and the power tunnel excavation in August.