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

2020 BC Curling Championships underway in Cranbrook

The 2020 BC Curling Championships are underway at Western Financial Place in… Continue reading

Kimberley/Cranbrook entertainment listings

Pictured above: The cast of Cranbrook Community Theatre’s “The Fighting Days,” which… Continue reading

Cranbrook Bucks sign first player to team

The Key City’s newest hockey franchise has begun to take shape as… Continue reading

Columbia Valley RCMP searching for missing Invermere woman

Police believe Belinda Eugene may be hitch hiking to the Kamloops area

Final preparations, practicing at WFP ahead of BC Curling Championships

Western Financial Place was a hive of activity on Monday, Jan. 27… Continue reading

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

‘Very disrespectful’: Headstones at Okanagan cemetery damaged by excavation crew

Headstones at Enderby’s Cliffside Cemetery mistakenly driven over by excavation crew

Despite reports of decline, birds flocking to national parks in Canadian Rockies

Recent studies suggest overall bird population has slid by three billion since 1970

Former UN committee member defends stance on B.C.’s Coastal GasLink pipeline

First Nations LNG Alliance accused UN committee, human rights watchdog of not doing their research

Opioid crisis to blame for shorter life expectancy in B.C. men, says Stats Can

Opioid crisis held responsible for declining life expectancy

Earthquake on top of highway closure a wake up call for Island’s West Coast

“When someone says, ‘Be prepared for 72 hours,’ that means exactly that: be prepared.”

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Taxi association asks B.C. Supreme Court to stop Uber, Lyft from operating

Petition alleges Passenger Transportation Board did not take taxis into account

Most Read