Nfld. & Labrador

Big move of Muskrat Falls machinery from Bay Bulls, across Witless Bay Line

The Witless Bay Line will be shut to normal nighttime traffic, starting Monday, as Nalcor moves a convoy of generators and other equipment.

Giant pieces of equipment to be moved in nightime convoy from Bay Bulls to Soldiers Pond

These 225-ton rotors are among the huge pieces to be moved from the port in Bay Bulls to the generating station at Soldiers Pond. (Todd O'Brien/CBC)

The transportation of huge pieces of electrical equipment will shut down two roads in Bay Bulls and the Witless Bay Line for several evenings in February and early March.

The oversized equipment, part of the Muskrat Falls grid, will be brought from the Pennecon Marine Base in Bay Bulls to Soldiers Pond, in a series of six moves on Feb 20, 23, 25, and 27 and Mar. 2 and 4. 

While some of the equipment can be moved during daytime hours, the biggest pieces will go by night, between 8:30 p.m. and 5 a.m., shutting down Southside Road, Route 10 and Witless Bay Line.

Other equipment will be sent to Labrador.

Steve Follett, project manager with HVdc Specialities, called the delivery of the three stators, three rotors and 14 transformers a "critical milestone" for the project.

Steve Follett, a project manager, says delivery of the equipment is a milestone for the project. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

The equipment was built in Quebec, Brazil and England and shipped to Bay Bulls for distribution in the province.

"We're hoping for the first move tonight," Follett said during a tour of the Bay Bulls site on Monday. "The transportation should take about four to six hours and we're hoping that by tomorrow morning we'll have the first stator on site at Soldiers Pond."

Crucial infrastructure

The equipment will help stabilize the electrical grid, Follett said, and connect the DC transmission system bringing power from Muskrat Falls with the AC distribution system that brings power to homes.

Seven of the transformers were supposed to be shipped to Cartwright late in 2016, but the move to Labrador was delayed by protests at the Muskrat Falls site.

"It is critical that we do get those to site as soon as possible," Follett said, but that depends on sea ice and weather.

He said details of the move on the Avalon Peninsula will be publicized through public advisories, tweets and Facebook posts, to minimize the impact on the community and travellers.

With files from Todd O'Brien