VIDEO: Demolition crew topples defunct surge tower at B.C. hydroelectric project

Towers were in operation from 1947 to 2018, and protected 1.8-km long penstocks

And then there were two…

The contractor for BC Hydro’s John Hart Generating Station project in Campbell River successfully felled one of three historic surge towers Friday morning.

“At about 10:20 am, we detonated precise explosives attached to some of the base girders of the tower so it directionally fell as planned, similar to a large tree, up the penstock corridor,” said BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson.

The demolition was part of the approximately $1 billion John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project which moved generating facilities underground to make them seismically safer. Currently, the old above-ground structures are being removed.

A 450-metre safety closure radius was put in place around the surge towers, so the two access roads into the site and the surrounding public trails were closed off for the controlled blast event. The contractor InPower BC, with FMI/ASL-JV and subcontractor Pacific Blasting and Demolition leading the actual surge tower removal, obtained a blast permit from the City of Campbell River. People near the site may have heard the blast and wondered what the sound was from.

For the felling process, some of the eight supporting legs of the tower were cut using linear shape charges, with kicker charges used to ensure full metal separation and displacement.

“We will now remove the felled surge tower, with the steel to be recycled,” Watson said. “The second tower may be felled sometime next week.”

The third (south) tower, while not part of the new hydroelectric facilities, is in good condition and will stay in place given it has communications equipment and is a visual aid to the local airport. There is also the heritage value in keeping one tower in place, Watson said.

At 90 metres or 295 feet tall, for a period of time the surge towers were the highest structures on Vancouver Island. The iconic white towers are visible from certain areas of Campbell River, including from boats on the ocean.

They were in operation from 1947 to 2018, and protected the 1.8-km long penstocks that led from the dam to the generating station from short duration water pressure changes that occur when the flow velocity is increased or decreased. They do this by allowing the water to go up, or conversely come down. The surge tanks were half-filled with water and at the same elevation as the upstream John Hart Reservoir.

The old John Hart facility was officially shut down last fall and replaced with a new and improved underground hydroelectric facility. The old facility is being removed.

RELATED: Water to be diverted from generating station tunnels to Elk Falls Canyon

RELATED: Campbell River’s Canyon View Trail loop to be opened up by end of summer


@AlstrT
editor@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Williams Lake establishes $100K emergency fund in response to COVID-19

Emergency fund will enable City to provide assistance during pandemic

Williams Lake Garden Club creates new community seed library

For now residents can request seeds for pick up or delivery due to COVID-19 precautions

COVID-19: City of Williams Lake issues reminder for residents to keep socially distant

The City has imposed a special regulation at the tennis courts

Warmer temperatures in the forecast for Cariboo Chilcotin, nights still cool

We checked in about winter with four women living in four directions of Williams Lake

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

Most Read