Maritime Link transmission towers completed at Strait of Canso

An 18-month construction project to install six high-voltage transmission towers across the Strait of Canso has begun carrying electricity.

"This was a very, very complicated project,' says project manager

The transmission towers at the Strait of Canso are 160 metres tall. (Brian Dudas)

An 18-month construction project to install six high-voltage transmission towers across the Strait of Canso separating Cape Breton Island from mainland Nova Scotia has been completed.

It is part of the Maritime Link Project that will carry hydroelectric power from Muskrat Falls in Newfoundland and Labrador to Nova Scotia and beyond.

"This was a very, very complicated project," said Tom Flewwelling, Nova Scotia Power's senior project manager who oversaw the job from the beginning. "Most people would think that it's six towers, six conductors — it'd be relatively straightforward. That wasn't the case."

Everything was custom-made, he said, from the foundations, towers, conductors and even the hardware.

Safety was critical

The towers are the tallest of their kind in the country at 160 metres. The existing towers alongside them are 124 metres.

It may have taken a year and a half at the site to complete the work, but Flewwelling said the job was actually years in the planning. He said safety was a major concern.

The six towers took 18 months to install. (submitted by Nova Scotia Power)

"We had to make sure that we had the proper procedures in place to mitigate any safety concerns," he said.

Flewwelling said no one was hurt during the construction despite the "thousands and thousands of man-hours" spent on the project.

Power has begun flowing through the new transmission lines.

"We energized this project last week," Flewwelling said, "so there's energy flowing through the new overhead crossing at the Strait of Canso. It works. Yeah, we're happy campers."

Nova Scotia Power says the new towers represent "a $20-million investment in service reliability for the Strait area and a commitment to cleaner electricity in Nova Scotia for years to come."

Full power from the Muskrat Falls project is not expected for another two years.

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