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Construction Progress

Intake Water-up

Thanks to the continued efforts by our various teams at the Muskrat Falls site, we’re ready to fill the intake channel with water.
Over the coming days, we will pump water in a controlled manner into the intake channel. The intake channel is the area between the river and the intake structure (upstream side of the powerhouse). To provide a dry area for construction of the intake and powerhouse, a rock and earth cofferdam was placed at the entrance to the intake channel. Once the intake channel is filled with water, we will remove the rock and earth cofferdam.

The intake structure is on the upstream side of the powerhouse structure and consists of four intakes with three bays each. The intake is 56 m high and 143 m wide.

When we are ready to generate power, water will flow through the intakes into each of the four turbine and generator units in the powerhouse.


Dedicated Team Completes North Dam at Muskrat Falls Generating Facility

Thanks to the dedication of more than 1,700 skilled workers from Barnard Pennecon, Trades NL, and our construction management teams, the North Dam is now complete.

Barnard Pennecon built the North Dam over two construction seasons. It was constructed primarily of roller compacted concrete (RCC) and a smaller amount of conventional concrete. Foundation preparation for the dam was carried out in spring 2017 with the first RCC placed in July 2017. The total amount of all concrete placed was approximately 243,000 cubic metres.

In terms of the North Dam’s position within the generation facility, it is connected to the North side rock knoll and at the other end it is fixed to the Spillway. The North Dam is 450 m long and 39 m high.

Congrats on a great team effort and a special note that the entire North Dam project team was comprised of 96% Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Click on the image below to watch our people constructing the North Dam.

With the North Dam now in operation, all three of the dams (North Spur Dam, South Dam and North Dam) for the Muskrat Falls Generating Facility are complete.

Click on the image below to watch our time lapse movie of the North Dam construction.

Thanks to the hard work of the men and women on this project, the Muskrat Falls Generating Facility is now 93% complete and we are another step closer to delivering first power this year.


Thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians help build Atlantic Canada’s second largest hydro plant

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of more than 4,600 skilled workers from our province, we’re proud to announce that Astaldi has substantially completed construction of the powerhouse and intake structures for the Muskrat Falls generating facility. Construction of these structures moves us closer to delivering first power from the generating plant in 2019. Once in operation, the Muskrat Falls generating facility will be the second largest hydro plant in Atlantic Canada – the Churchill Falls generating facility is the largest.

Click on the image below to watch our video. 

In January 2014, Astaldi started construction on the spillway, powerhouse and intake structures for the Muskrat Falls generation project. Since then over 330,000 m3 of concrete has been placed to build these three main structures and about 3,800 metric tonnes of structural steel has been installed for the intake and powerhouse.

“I congratulate everyone who played an important part in safely achieving this tremendous milestone on the project,” says Scott O’Brien, Project Manager – Muskrat Falls Generation. “With construction on these critical components completed, we are now installing the four generating units in the powerhouse. We are focused on delivering power to the people of the province from the Muskrat Falls generating plant in 2019.”

Click on the image below to watch our time lapse movie. 

“We’re proud to be part of this mega energy project in Newfoundland and Labrador and proud of the work done by the entire Astaldi team,” said Don Delarosbil, Project Manager Astaldi. “We are making very good progress on execution. We have reached many milestones since first concrete was placed in 2014. It’s thanks to the hard work and dedication of every worker that the spillway structure was completed last year and now this year, we have substantially completed the powerhouse and intake structures.”

More than 88 per cent of Astaldi’s team was comprised of skilled Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. While hiring local workers for the project, Astaldi also focused on diversity – employing 600 Aboriginal workers for their projects.

“I would like to extend a sincere congratulations on this significant accomplishment on the Muskrat Falls project,” says Darin King, Executive Director, Trades NL. “Thanks to the contractors and the project leadership team for supporting all of our members – professional craft labour – as we’ve worked together to achieve this milestone.”

With the powerhouse building now constructed and enclosed, work continues on the assembly and installation of the four massive generating units in the powerhouse.

Click here to learn more about the spillway, intake and powerhouse structures. 

Quick Facts:

  • The spillway is made up of five bays with gates that open and close as needed to control the release of water from the reservoir (area upstream of the facility).
  • The intake draws the water from the river into the powerhouse and then onto the turbines and generators where electricity will be generated. Installing the intake gates is the first step in the process of moving water through the powerhouse where electricity will be made.
  • The powerhouse houses the four generating units, which are the mechanical and electrical components required to generate the electricity.


South Dam Completed

In fall 2017, Barnard Pennecon Limited Partnership completed the South dam. This dam was constructed over two seasons; with foundation preparation and approximately 50% of fill placed in 2016, and the remainder of embankment construction in 2017. This 250 m long dam closes the south part of the reservoir between the south bank and the powerhouse and will hold water in the reservoir. It is a conventional rock-filled dam constructed by building up layers of rock and till material on the underlying bedrock, which serves as a foundation for the dam. A road is also built at the top of the dam to provide access to the intake and spillway.  


Work Progressed on North Dam

Significant work progressed on the North dam this year with more than 100,000 m3 of concrete placed for the North dam. The dam reached an elevation of 15.69 m – that’s about 40% of the required concrete placed.

The North dam is being constructed using a high-density concrete, known as roller-compacted concrete (RCC). Unlike conventional concrete, RCC mix is drier and placed in a manner similar to road building. The concrete mix is spread by bulldozers, and then compacted by compaction rollers into a series of horizontal layers.

Foundation preparation for the North dam began in spring 2017 with Barnard Pennecon Limited Partnership placing the first quantities of RCC in July. More than 30,000 m3 of RCC was placed during the first month of construction, with an impressive peak productivity rate in early September of approximately 3,500 m3/day.

Upon completion, the North dam will be in excess of 400 m long and reaching a maximum elevation of about 39.3 m, making it one of the largest RCC dams in Canada. This is the final major civil component required for the creation of the final Muskrat Falls reservoir.

Click on the image below to view construction of the North dam in 2017 captured in a time-lapse video. 


North Spur Dam Completed

The North Spur is a natural dam on the Churchill River – it is one of the three dams within the Muskrat Falls reservoir. Between April 2015 and August 2017, Gilbert Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Ltd. carried out the construction activities on the North Spur. Designed by SNC-Lavalin, the North Spur dam was reinforced and protected, and now serves as a critical piece of infrastructure for the Muskrat Falls hydro facility.

To learn more about the North Spur Dam, watch our video below. 

Completion of North Spur Dam Construction – Sept 21, 2017