An important power grid reinforcement project in southern Alberta, the $700-million Cassils to Bowmanton transmission project will ensure the stability and reliability of power supplied to local communities and connect southern Albertans to new, sustainable wind-generated power. Seasonal brown outages caused by farmland irrigation during extreme hot weather will also be reduced.
Preservation and protection
The project—which saw 720 towers erected over 240 kilometres—required that SNC-Lavalin maintain an open dialogue with client AltaLink and local stakeholders to safeguard the environmental, social and economic viability of local communities.
Monitoring by First Nations during land staking and construction played an integral role in building a partnership of trust. Construction was often halted during the migration and breeding season and diverters were installed to prevent birds from flying into lines. Helicopter lifts were also favoured over cranes for the installation of towers and the subsequent stringing of lines, significantly reducing traffic to, from and within environmentally sensitive areas.
A forum for safety
Since safety is a leading priority for SNC-Lavalin, a sound Health & Safety management protocol was established. The project team created an informal safety council for subcontractors to share their ideas, concerns and best practices, while an interim worker-training program helped reduce the frequency of incidents during peak construction periods.
Reliability down the line
The Cassils to Bowmanton transmission project is well under budget and ahead of schedule with a launch date of November 25, 2014. That such an undertaking is being completed ahead of schedule speaks to the team’s ability to maintain momentum while respecting the concerns of local landowners and the commitments they made to their client, AltaLink.