Muskrat Falls line builder says expect completion in 2017

Labrador-Island link will be largest project to date for contractor

Ashley Fitzpatrick afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com
Published on August 11, 2014
Concerns have been raised about the possible use of a controversial herbicide to keep a new power line for Muskrat Falls clear of trees and brush when contruction has been completed. — Telegram file photo

The contractor working to build the Labrador-Island link, Newfoundland and Labrador’s new backbone for power transmission, says the project should be completed in summer 2017.

Valard Construction, a Quanta Services company, has been announced by Nalcor Energy vice-president and Muskrat Falls project lead Gilbert Bennett as the builder on the overland portions of the roughly 1,100-kilometre link.

Valard was previously awarded the contract for construction of a new power line connection between Muskrat Falls and the existing infrastructure at Churchill Falls.

This morning, the Edmonton-based contractor issued a statement on the newly announced contract.

"Valard is proud to be part of this historic energy project in Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition, construction of the Labrador-Island transmission link provides job opportunities to our large Newfoundland and Labrador workforce currently working on projects in Alberta and British Columbia, which should positively impact the local economy," said Adam Budzinski, the president of Valard Construction.

"Valard has constructed many of Canada's largest and most critical transmission lines and brings a large, nationwide skilled labour resource pool and track record of success to this project."

This project, however, will be the largest transmission project ever taken on by Quanta, the statement notes.

Despite the challenge ahead, the president and chief executive officer of that parent company, Jim O'Neil, expressed confidence the work can be finished on time and on budget.

"Once the project is complete, we plan to maintain a long-term presence in the area to further support the province's future energy infrastructure needs," he said.

Valard’s work will include: management of the right-of-way clearing, installation of concrete foundations for transmission line towers, assembly of the towers and stringing of the 350-kilovolt lines.

The expected cost of the work has not been released.