Right Bank Drainage Tunnel Breakthrough Achievement

Earlier this month, PRHP finished excavation and rock support in the one-kilometre-long right bank drainage tunnel at Site C. The drainage tunnel will house instrumentation and drain holes to monitor and reduce water pressures in the foundation of the powerhouse buttress. The tunnel will also be used to monitor and drain the remaining excavations for the spillway and dam buttresses and will eventually be connected to services within the powerhouse.

Congratulations to the tunnel team for their hard work and dedication, especially during an extreme cold weather period. Our workers on site endured temperatures of -36C!

Since the team began in October, they’ve continuously set site production records.  The team also completed the work safely and with no lost time incidents.

An excellent job by everyone!

Peace River Hydro Partners visits Charlie Lake students

Local students from Charlie Lake Elementary School learn about the roadheader used to drill the diversion tunnels, during a presentation from PRHP

In November, Peace River Hydro Partners visited Charlie Lake Elementary School to talk to students and teachers about the two diversion tunnels we are building at Site C.

The students learned what a roadheader is, where the drill comes from, the drilling process, and exactly how large the diversion tunnels are. The students also took part in a naming contest for the roadheaders and celebrated with a pizza party. This is one of many ways we get involved with our neighbouring communities through our community investment program.


Students take part in mining traditions

More than just an educational visit, we wanted to involve the students in a very special way. In the tradition of sailors naming their ships, miners also name their underground equipment to protect them from bad luck. We invited the students to help us choose names for our two roadheaders, with the criteria being they needed to be strong, heroic and inspirational female names.

Collectively, the group chose the two winning names – Penelope and Betsey – and celebrated with a pizza lunch for everyone.


Giant roadheaders drill into the 750-metre-long diversion tunnels

The two diversion tunnels, which are approximately 750 metres long and wide enough for a city bus, will be used to temporarily reroute the Peace River around the dam site, allowing us to build the dam on dry land.

Excavating the tunnels requires special equipment, giant drills called roadheaders, to tunnel into the rock face. We sourced these Sandvik MT520 roadheaders from as far away as Austria and Australia. It took six weeks to transport the drills to Fort St. John!

The front of the roadheader breaks the rock with its cutting head and water-spraying system. An attached conveyor then moves the broken rocks to nearby trucks, which transport the rock for use at other areas on the construction site. Inside the tunnels, a specialized ventilation system removes dust, keeping the air safe for our crews.


Did you know? More than 20 crew members are needed to operate and maintain each roadheader.

Community investment is important

PRHP takes great pride in contributing to our neighbouring communities in the Peace River Regional District and focuses employee volunteer time and funding in doing so. Our focus is on healthy families, children and youth, and education. To learn more about PRHP’s community investment initiatives, visit www.prhp.ca/community/.


We would like to thank Charlie Lake Elementary School for facilitating this presentation!

Inlet Portal for the Diversion Tunnels on the North Bank

Latest Construction Progress Photos

Latest construction progress update photos featuring the spillway excavation, powerhouse buttress, diversion tunnel outlet portal, and cofferdams.  Please click here to view the photos.