Manitoba Hydro awards construction contract for 200-MW Wuskwatim

Manitoba Hydro has awarded a C$289 million (US$230 million) contract for general civil construction of the 200-MW Wuskwatim hydroelectric project on Manitoba’s Burntwood River.

The utility announced Dec. 2 it awarded the contract to O’Connell-Neilson-EBC Partnership. The consortium consists of: managing partner H.J. O’Connell Construction Ltd., St. John’s, Newfoundland; Neilson Inc., Saint-Nicholas, Quebec; and EBC Inc., L’Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec.

Manitoba Hydro issued a letter of intent to award the contract in September, and concluded the contract only recently.

Contract schedule advances in-service date to 2011

The contract includes a schedule advancing the in-service date of the generating station to 2011. At one time the scheduled in-service date was December 2012. (HNN 10/2/07)

General civil work to be performed includes construction of earthen dams and dykes, and the concrete structures that form the generating station. In addition, the consortium will be responsible for excavating rock; supplying and installing powerhouse walls, roof, and superstructure steel; and maintaining roads and cofferdams.

Manitoba Hydro manages the project, including the tendering process, under Wuskwatim Power L.P. Manitoba Hydro is developing Wuskwatim in partnership with the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation. The powerhouse is to be built at Taskinigahp Falls, 40 kilometers southeast of Nelson House. The project is expected to inundate less than a square kilometer.

�The awarding of the civil contract is a key benchmark of progress on the project,� Manitoba Hydro President Bob Brennan said. �Wuskwatim is a unique project which is serving as a model for future project development, in Manitoba and in other parts of the country. There is a lot of interest in the partnership model from other jurisdictions.�

An original general civil contract was tendered in 2007 and only one bid was received. (HNN 7/17/07) As a result, that tender subsequently was canceled. Manitoba Hydro, as project manager, divided the work originally planned into smaller construction contracts. It awarded Peter Kiewit &Sons Ltd. a contract to do overburden and initial rock excavation and to construct several cofferdams. It awarded Pennecon a second contract to do structures area rock excavation and produce concrete aggregate.

Construction of the C$1.3 billion (US$1 billion) project began in 2006, with the building of a 48-kilometer access road. The upstream containment dyke and Stage 1 upstream and downstream cofferdams also are complete. Since 2007, 600,000 cubic meters of overburden and 450,000 cubic meters of rock have been excavated for the powerhouse and spillway structures and channels. The utility said project infrastructure �- including power line, communications, camp, offices, and sewer and water �- is complete.

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