Tunnels now complete for John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project


WATCH: The $1.1-billion John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project is inching toward completion after 11 years of planning and four years of construction. Dean Stoltz reports. 

Most of the John Hart Generating Station project is deep underground, a maze of huge tunnels, some that will be used for the flow of water to the generators, while other tunnels were built just to build the main tunnels.

They are now complete and ready for water to begin flowing through them later this month.

“We have a new water intake at the John Hart Dam,” said BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson. “Water drops about 60 to 100 metres under the ground then goes almost 1.6 kilometres to the underground powerhouse, generates electricity and then passes through another tunnel that goes about 500 or 600 metres to the Campbell River. So this is the year when flows start happening so we?re pretty excited about that.”

The underground tunnel will replace three above ground penstocks and feed water through three massive generators in the enormous powerhouse that is 40 metres high and more than 100 metres below the surface.

It’s an engineering marvel that has provided hundreds of jobs. At it?s peak, there were 500 people working on the project at one time and those who have been there since the beginning are still awed by the scope of the project.

“The scale that we see, you know a powerhouse station underground that is the length of a football field and 10 stories high is quite something to see.” said InPower BC CEO Paul Sawyer.

Local MLA and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena toured the site Friday, supporting a project that began under Liberal government.

“Building our infrastructure up this kind of way should be apolitical I was here when the previous minister of the previous government was up here with the previous head of BC Hydro to mark the start it and I?m looking forward to when Minister Mungall is up here to mark the completion of it.” said Trevena.

Completion is scheduled for October.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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