One of the biggest hurdles in reconstruction of the Ruskin Dam has been overcome.
The dam, on the easterly border of Maple Ridge, is undergoing an overhaul, which includes refurbishing the powerhouse and replacing the three generators, with an estimated cost of upwards of $748 million and a completion date of 2018.
Recently, the workers marked the completion of the first major milestone in what project manager Boyd Mason calls a necessary safety and seismic upgrade.
Admittedly, he said, when the dam was first built 83 years ago, earthquake safeguards were not a factor in construction. But today, standards have changed, and the upgrades are being made to not only ensure the dam can withstand a significant earthquake when - not if - it hits, but also that BC Hydro can get up and operational quickly afterwards.
The recent milestone saw completion of seismic improvements to the right abutment of the dam, which he calls the weakest link, and the most critical and technically complex and challenging phase of the project.
BC Hydro received approval a little more than a year ago to start work on the dam. Work began immediately, but Mason said this project presents several "unique" engineering challenges. Consequently, specialists are being brought in from the U.S. and Germany to assist.
A team is currently working on retrofitting the powerhouse, which is set for completion next year. And work is getting underway soon to replace the seven existing gates with five. A bulkhead, to hold back the water and allow work, is expected to go into place this fall, said Mason, who noted this too will be done in phases.
The project also includes replacement of all the generators as well as the turbines, some of which are currently being fabricated in Brazil and China.
/ Retrofitting of the 83-year-old Ruskin Dam began last year, and is expected to be completed by 2018.;
@ Copyright 2013