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Strait of Belle Isle Marine Cable Crossing reaches substantial completion

After just over two months since the Tideway subsea rock installation vessel arrived at the quayside in Forteau, Labrador, all three subsea rock berms have safely been installed along the seabed. With the submarine cable system fully protected, the vessel departed the Strait of Belle Isle on November 15 marking the completion of all major marine cable installation and protection activities for the Strait of Belle Isle Marine Cable Crossing for the Muskrat Falls Project.

Submarine cable protection work included the installation of three subsea rock berms consisting of 540,000 tonnes of locally quarried rock stretching a combined length of approximately 80 kilometres. To date, this is the largest subsea rock installation campaign that has been performed in a single campaign in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the fastest known fall pipe vessel rock installation campaign of this quantity.

The Flintstone, Tideway’s subsea rock installation vessel, being loaded with rock for rock berm installation at the quayside in Forteau, Labrador.

The Flintstone, Tideway’s subsea rock installation vessel, being loaded with rock for rock berm installation at the quayside in Forteau, Labrador.

“Achieving this milestone signifies the substantial completion of the Strait of Belle Isle Marine Cable Crossing,” says Stephen Follett, Marine Crossing Offshore Area Manager. “This represents years of hard work and dedication by the project’s Marine Crossing Team to successfully install, test and protect a submarine cable system that’s connecting our province for the first time.”

Construction on the marine cable crossing has progressed safely and on schedule since work began in 2013, when the sites in Forteau, Labrador and Shoal Cove, on the Northern Peninsula were first cleared and prepared for development. Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) activity was completed in October 2014 in preparation for the world’s longest subsea cable pull-ins to shore via HDD conduits.

On July 3, 2016, marine cable installation began, marking the kick-off of a two-month campaign that resulted in three cables being laid on the seafloor between Forteau and Shoal Cove. Each cable was first laid in two pieces that were pulled through conduits on each side of the Strait by a cable installation vessel operated by Nexans. The lengths were then intricately joined together on the vessel and permanently laid on the sea floor in preparation for rock berm installation.

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 Labrador to the Avalon Peninsula.

To learn more about the Strait of Belle Isle marine crossing, visit:

Technical Briefing:
Update on activities related to reservoir creation at Muskrat Falls and methylmercury

October 19, 2016 – Gilbert Bennett, Executive Vice President Power Development, Nalcor Energy; Dr. David Allison, Chief Medical Officer, Health and Community Services; and Jim McCarthy, Senior Biologist, Amec Foster Wheeler, held a technical briefing in St. John’s to discuss current construction activities at the Muskrat Falls site, reservoir creation and to address concerns related to methylmercury.

Previous Features:

August 3, 2016 – Spillway goes into operation at Muskrat Falls
July 22, 2016 – Preparations underway to operate the spillway at Muskrat Falls
July 4, 2016 – Making history in the Strait of Belle Isle
April 10, 2016 – First tower erected on island for new transmission line from Muskrat Falls
October 29, 2015 – Muskrat Falls Project achieves major milestones in October
October 2, 2015 – Construction milestone reached in the Muskrat Falls spillway
September 29, 2015 – Nalcor Energy provides Muskrat Falls Project update
September 22, 2015 – Land cables arrive in the Strait of Belle Isle
April 15, 2016 – First HVdc tower erected for Labrador-Island Transmission Link
January 13, 2015 – Construction of Labrador-Island Transmission Link underway on the island
January 9, 2015 – North Spur stabilization work moving forward
October 14, 2014 – First transmission tower erected for Muskrat Falls Project
August 28, 2014 – Lower Churchill Project moves forward with next major phase of marine cable crossing activity in Strait of Belle Isle
August 18, 2014 – First concrete pour at the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric generating facility
July 9, 2014 – Nalcor Energy continues to be major sponsor at Expo Labrador 2014