UPDATE: US-$473 million Kemano second tunnel project gets the go-ahead

No accommodation required in Kitimat

The Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) design. Image supplied

The Rio Tinto board has approved the US-$473 million completion of the Kemano Second Tunnel (T2) Project.

Rio Tinto B.C. Works general manager Gareth Manderson said the completion of the nearly 8km stretch of the second tunnel will start in spring of 2018 and is expected to be complete by 2020.

“Completing this tunnel will ensure we have a stable, long-term power supply for the newly modernized Kitimat smelter and that our operations will continue to make a significant contribution to B.C.’s economy over the coming decades,” said Manderson.

“This investment will enhance B.C. Works’ position as a world-leading producer of low carbon aluminum through environmentally sustainable hydropower.”

The second tunnel will create a back-up for the original tunnel that was built over 60 years ago.

“This will allow us to conduct maintenance work without shutting down our operations, ensuring we can continue to responsibly manage the Nechako Watershed reservoir system,” added Manderson.

He stressed that the second tunnel will connect to the existing power station with no new generators being built and that it would not draw any more water than what is currently allocated in the company’s water licence.

B.C. Works communication manager Kevin Dobbin said U.S. construction company Frontier-Kemper Aecon, which has been appointed as the main contractor to deliver the majority of the construction scope, will also be responsible for hiring subcontractors and employees.

He said civil, building and specialty construction company Tutor Perini Corporation will complete the construction of the remaining 7.6km section, as well as refurbish the existing 8.4km of the 16km second tunnel at the Kemano power plant, as part of a joint venture between its subsidiary, Frontier-Kemper Constructors, and Aecon Group Inc., of which Frontier-Kemper has a 60 per cent share.

“The main contractor’s scope of work includes the excavation and boring of new tunnel segments, tunnel lining, rehabilitation of existing underground and surface excavations, and installation of intake gates and other related structures,” said Dobbin.

He said the refurbishment work on the existing T2 downstream tunnel will start in the second quarter of 2018, as will site activities to open up existing access roads and the establishment of a camp.

The T2 downstream work also includes some drilling and blasting (400m) as part of putting in a surge tunnel (a structure which compensates for the pressure created by the water hammering effect in a tunnel).

“Some minor work at the existing T2 intake will also be completed during the summer of 2019. The current schedule is to have the total project completed before the end of 2020,” said Dobbin.

The tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will complete the last 7.6km of the tunnel is being specially designed in Germany and will take up to a year to engineer and fabricate before it is shipped to site.

The TBM is expected to arrive by barge from Germany in the fall of 2018 and will be assembled at the site. Drilling is anticipated to begin in the winter of 2018. The rock spoil will be deposited at the existing Horetzky landing site that was previously used in the 1990s during the construction of the first part of the second tunnel.

“All permits and licences are in place for the material to be placed in a controlled way,” added Dobbin.

During the peak summer construction periods the project will employ approximately 350 workers.

“While much of the work will be highly specialized, Frontier-Kemper Aecon will ensure First Nations and local and regional businesses that are competitive and meet requirements, will have the opportunity to be involved,” said Dobbin.

He said the ratio of local workers versus specialized workers won’t be known until the project begins.

The workforce will be based out of a camp located at Kemano (a 140 person camp is already in place) and in a camp at the Horetzky landing (situated above ground halfway along the tunnel). This camp will accommodate up to 200 workers and will be put in place in the spring of 2018.

“No accommodation is required in Kitimat for the project,” said Dobbin.

Crews will travel to and from Kemano by boat and remain accommodated at the Kemano camp on a 14-day on/7-day off shift rotation, with drilling occurring day and night.

Just Posted

Terrace users on Facebook post warnings about vehicle break-ins

RCMP say it’s important to always lock your doors

Oil tanker ban to be reviewed by committee

Indigenous groups for and against Bill C-48 travel to Ottawa to influence the Senate’s decision

Supportive housing project delayed until end of winter

Rainy conditions have stalled groundwork for the 52-unit development on Olson Avenue

Tyler Dozzi breaks national record, ‘running like a madman’

Terrace runner sets new time in Boston in his last U20 race

B.C’s salmon advisory council skips Terrace

Public engagement tour excludes all non-coastal communities

Omar Khadr wants changes to bail conditions

‘My life is held in suspension’, says the former Guantanamo Bay detainee

Lions announce seven members of coaching staff not coming back for 2019

The operational moves come two days after the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as the team’s new head coach

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

No plans yet for free WiFi on BC Transit buses

BC Transit says they are monitoring the roll-out of free WiFi on Translink vehicles

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Sex-assault squad investigated eight incidents at Toronto all-boys’ school

The interim president of a Roman Catholic all-boys school rocked by student-on-student abuse allegations said the football program was cancelled for next year.

Most Read