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‘Running 24-7’: Behind the scenes of Site C Dam construction

WATCH: Behind-the-scenes tour of Site C dam construction

Nearly a year after Premier John Horgan made the controversial decision to continue construction of the Site C Dam, Global News is getting a behind-the-scenes look at work underway on the dam near Fort St. John.

An 800-metre long concrete buttress, supporting the powerhouse and spillway, is now taking shape.

READ MORE: B.C. First Nations seek injunction to halt Site C project on Peace River

And huge diversion tunnels are being carved out of the landscape to reroute the Peace River.

“We’re taking four-metre excavations every 24 hours and we’re doing both sides. It’s going very well,” said Jordan Palagian, mining supervisor for the diversion tunnels project.

A look at the concrete buttress built as a foundation for the powerhouse and the spillway (far left under construction).
A look at the concrete buttress built as a foundation for the powerhouse and the spillway (far left under construction). Jordan Armstrong

The river diversion was delayed a year, to fall 2020, after engineers found tension cracks in the geotechnically unstable north bank of the river.

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BC Hydro says 11-million cubic metres of earth — enough to fill BC Place Stadium six times — have been removed to stabilize the slope.

WATCH: NDP premier gives go-ahead to Site C dam (Aired Dec. 11, 2017)

NDP premier gives go-ahead to Site C dam
NDP premier gives go-ahead to Site C dam

“That provides a gentle slope and brings back the angle to address slope stability,” said Andrew Watson, Site C’s director of design.

The dam, which won’t be operational until late 2024, was originally supposed to cost $8.3 billion. The budget was raised to $10.7 billion after an NDP-ordered review of the project.

When finished, Site C will produce enough energy to power 450,000 homes.

READ MORE: BC Hydro awards $1.6B contract to help complete Site C hydroelectric dam

A panorama looking at the Peace River from the north bank of the Site C project
A panorama looking at the Peace River from the north bank of the Site C project Jordan Armstrong / Global News

As of September, more than 3,700 people are working on the dam, which is about a ten minute drive from the northeastern B.C. community of Fort St. John.

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This week, Global News is taking a closer look at the mega-project.

Thursday, we’ll focus on the controversy, cost and court challenges of Site C. And Friday, we’ll look at the massive work camp built to house more than 1,700 people.

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