Site C diversion tunnels open on Peace River

Friday, October 9, 2020

The gates to the two huge tunnels on the north bank of the Peace River have been opened to temporarily divert the river flow at the Site C dam project.

One of the most important steps for the Site C megaproject is to change the route of a short section of the Peace River during construction. Diverting the river allows the earthfill dam to be built across the main river channel, while keeping the river flowing.

Two large diversion tunnels, approximately 750 metres long and 11 metres in diameter, will be able to pass 3,000 m3 of water a second.

BC Hydro officials reminded boaters and other river users to stay away from the area due to the powerful river current pulling into the diversion tunnels.

A two-kilometre section of the Peace River around the Site C dam was closed to boaters this June when a debris boom was installed across the main river channel.

Earlier this year, crews began placing a rockfill berm across the river to seal off an area for the dam to be built on dry land, while keeping the water flowing through the tunnels on the north bank.

BC Hydro officials advised that river conditions will likely change over the next few months without warning and river users should use caution.

The Peace River will be diverted until the completion of the Site C dam, at which point BC Hydro will close the diversion tunnels and water will flow through the generating station and spillway.

Main civil works is the largest single contract for construction on the Site C project, which was awarded to Acciona Infrastructure Canada. It includes the construction of an earthfill dam, two diversion tunnels, and a concrete foundation for the generating station and spillways

Construction of the multi-billion dollar Site C project started in summer 2015. The generators is expected to be on line in 2024 and the project will be completed in 2025.

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