Site C river diversion tunnels completed

BC Hydro says it has completed the two Peace River diversion tunnels at Site C, and remains on schedule to begin diverting the river in September.

BC Hydro said it reached the contstruction milestone in a project update on May 25. Four gate structures, located at the upstream and downstream entrances of both tunnels, have also been completed, the company said.

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"This work was completed during a period of scaled back activity on the project due to the COVID-19 pandemic," BC Hydro said. "Since March 18, BC Hydro has prioritized work required to achieve river diversion in fall 2020."

The tunnels are 750 metres long and 11 metres in diameter; once operational, they will move 3,000 cubic metres of the Peace River per second. That will allow contractors to move into the main channel of the river to begin building the kilometre long earthfill dam, which will stand 60 metres tall.

The river diversion will be in place until the Site C reservoir is filled in 2023.

Tunnel excavations began in summer 2018 and were completed in late 2019. The tunnel lining process, which involved using a custom-built slip form to enable concrete to cure in a perfect circle, began in summer 2019 and was completed in May 2020, BC Hydro said.

Starting June 15, the area around Site C on the Peace and Moberly rivers will be permanently closed to boaters while debris management systems are installed across the river channels, BC Hydro said.

A seasonal portage program to transport non-motorized vessels will operate between the Halfway River boat launch and the Peace Island Park boat launch from June 15 to September 15.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

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