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Making history in the Strait of Belle Isle

July 4, 2016 – The Lower Churchill Project’s Marine Crossings Team is one step closer to connecting Labrador to the island for the first time in our province’s history.

Marine cable installation in the Strait of Belle Isle began on July 3, marking the beginning of a two-month campaign that will see three cables laid on the seafloor between Forteau, Labrador and Shoal Cove, on the Northern Peninsula. The marine cable crossing is a critical component of the Muskrat Falls Project, connecting the Labrador and island portions of the 1,100 km transmission line that will carry electricity from Muskrat Falls to the Avalon Peninsula.

Marine cable installation activities in the Strait of Belle Isle.

Marine cable installation activities in the Strait of Belle Isle.

After just one day of activity, the first piece of cable had been safely and successfully pulled more than one kilometer through a conduit that was drilled from the sea floor to the shore at Forteau.

“We couldn’t be more proud of the team for this achievement,” said Greg Fleming, Marine Crossings Project Manager with the Lower Churchill Project. “Getting to this point has been years in the making, and it’s great to finally reach such an important and historic milestone for the project and the province.”

The pull-in (as it is referred by industry) broke the current world record for the longest high voltage direct current (HVdc) cable landfall pull-in in the world. At 1,300 m long and in 70 m of water, the conduits at Forteau are more than 1.5 times longer than the current record, and more than double the water depth. Later this week, another section of the cable will be pulled an even greater distance in Shoal Cove, where the conduits are approximately 2,200 m.

Over the next several months, cable installation activities will continue in the Strait of Belle Isle. The process is carried out with extreme precision from a cable installation vessel and operated by a specialized team with the cable manufacturer, Nexans. Once the cables have been laid and pulled through on both sides of the Strait, a protective rock berm will be installed on top of the cables. This activity is also expected to take approximately two months.

All marine cable installation activities in the Strait of Belle Isle are scheduled for completion in fall 2016.

To learn more about work in the Strait of Belle Isle, visit the Construction Activities section of the website: