Bridge collapse prompts work delay at 8.98-MW Lower St. Anthony

Acknowledging delays caused by the collapse of an Interstate highway bridge in Minneapolis, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has granted the 8.98-MW Lower St. Anthony Falls project two more years to begin and complete construction.

Licensee SAF Hydroelectric LLC said progress toward beginning construction at the Minnesota project was halted Aug. 1, 2007, when the Interstate 35 bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River. The bridge is 400 feet downstream of the project site, at the Corps of Engineers’ Lower St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam.

SAF said recovery efforts and debris removal from the disaster site blocked its access to the project for several months. It said lack of access prevented the licensee from conducting a diving inspection and other tasks to complete construction documents.

In a Feb. 6 order, FERC said SAF’s reasons for the extension were reasonable and justified the extension. The new deadlines for starting and completing the project (No. 12451) are Feb. 20, 2010, and Feb. 20, 2012.

VA Tech Hydro USA, a unit of Andritz VA Tech Hydro, is to provide 16 StrafloMatrix turbine-generators for the project. (HNN 6/19/07) Hydropower owner Brookfield Power holds a partial ownership interest in SAF Hydroelectric.

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