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

Just Posted

Radium author launches book

Radium Hot Springs author Brent Lea launches thriller set in the great outdoors of southeastern B.C.

Helping our community during COVID-19

A high school student’s perspective

The buoys are back in town

Watershed Wanderings column by Lake Windermere Ambassadors

Invermere council okay with ‘reverse grad march’ idea

Nothing finalized and complications aplenty, but Invermere council agrees to grad march idea

101-year-old man targets 101 block fundraising walk for food bank

A centenarian in Invermere has embarked on a new adventure to raise money for the food bank.

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Most Read