Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. Maritime Link work to resume 'as quick as possible' after contractor switch: Emera

Emera Newfoundland and Labrador says the two new contractors replacing the financially troubled Abengoa SA will be starting work on the island's southwest coast "immediately."
Emera says more transmission lines should have already been built in southwest Newfoundland than currently exist.

Work on the southwest Newfoundland portion of the Maritime Link will resume "immediately" after one of the project's main contractors was replaced due to ongoing financial troubles, says the company in charge of the project.

Emera announced Wednesday it had replaced Abengoa S.A. with two other contractors, the Emera subsidiary Emera Utility Services and Rokstad Power, headquartered in B.C.

"As quick as possible, you'll start to see work on the ground, getting access roads ready as well as getting teams in place to actually do the work," said Jeff Myrick, a spokesperson for Emera Newfoundland and Labrador.

Myrick said while some site work has been ongoing in the area between Bottom Brook and Cape Ray by smaller contractors, the new companies involved means there could be new jobs available.

"There's still an opportunity for local people to have work opportunities," he said.

A map shows the route of the Maritime Link, which will connect Newfoundland power with Nova Scotia. (Government of Nova Scotia)

Missed milestones 

Abengoa's troubled finances have been no secret for the last few months.

Its original $197-million contract for the Maritime Link work was initially awarded in March of 2015. 

The company filed for creditor protection in November of the same year, and has since failed to meet both payroll deadlines and project milestones.

"Basically, its financial instability and the global insolvency hampered the company, its construction efforts and its ability to work with local suppliers," said Myrick.

In southwest Newfoundland, Abengoa was responsible for building transmission towers, along with associated foundation and civil work.

Myrick could not put a number on how many towers have been completed, but says fewer towers have been finished than expected.

"It's clear that work wasn't meeting our schedule, hence why we made the change," he said.

Myrick said local companies subcontracted by Abengoa have been paid through a system set up by Emera, although he did not specify if Abengoa has any remaining debts in the province.

Despite the change in contractors, Myrick maintained the Maritime Link is on budget, and on schedule to be finished in 2017.

"It's a combination of a shorter time period, but more boots on the ground, and more activity happening all at once."

With files from the Corner Brook Morning Show