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Work Begins on $777M ON Transmission Project

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

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Construction has officially commenced on a $777 million, 450-kilometer (roughly 280-mile) transmission line project in Northwestern Ontario, a project that will follow the Lake Superior shoreline from Thunder Bay to Wawa.

According to Enbridge, the endeavor, dubbed the East-West Tie Line Transmission Project, is being developed by NextBridge Infrastructure, a joint partnership consisting of affiliates of the company, NextEra Energy Canada and OMERS Infrastructure.

Ontario Transmission Line Project History

NextBridge reported that the transmission project, consisting of double-circuit 230 kV transmission line, is one of the largest investments in “the Northwest’s electricity system in decades.” The energy provided by the transmission line will also be vital to economic growth in the area.

In January, the Ontario government awarded the contract to NextBridge. At the time, Ontario Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines Greg Rickford noted that the Ontario Energy Board’s review process had taken too long, putting the hopes of “timely construction” at risk. Previously, Hydro One had been in the running for the project’s contract.

According to the CBC, at the time the relationship between NextBridge and Bamkushwada would serve as a template for the industry and other First Nations in future infrastructure projects. The joint venture reportedly trained people belonging to Indigenous communities for over 300 project jobs. Bamkushwada would also receive a 20% equity stake in the project.

Additionally, the line will mostly parallel the existing East-West Tie transmission corridor, though areas of concern, including Pukaskwa National Park, will be avoided. Project construction was originally slated to begin in September 2019, with the entire line being energized by the end of 2021.

Recent Developments

Jennifer Tidmarsh, Project Director and President of NextEra Transmission Canada, noted that NextBridge had trained over 200 Indigenous people to work on this project, which will have 11 work fronts. Recently, construction began on a temporary camp in Nipigon.

During the first phase of construction, right-of-way and access roads will be built, followed by surveys for tower placement and towers set with the assistance of cranes or helicopters. Later phases of construction will include structures going into easily accessible areas being assembled in laydown yards.

“The East-West Tie project offers an example of how industry and Indigenous communities can work together to build infrastructure while providing local economic benefits and respecting First Nation culture,” said Peter Collins, the President of Bamkushwada and Chief of Fort William First Nation.

“Along with growth opportunities this project brings to the region, it has also helped us build capacity for community members that provide benefits long after the project is complete.”


Tagged categories: Infrastructure; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Transmission Towers

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