A 128-wheel truck carries BC Hydro’s 85-ton transformer over the single-lane bridge

Getting ready to transform Golden

On August 21 and 22, one of the major pieces of the much anticipated Columbia Valley Transmission Project was put into place.

On August 21 and 22, one of the major pieces of the much anticipated Columbia Valley Transmission Project was put into place.

A 85-ton transformer, ordered almost a year in advance, made its journey from Korea to Golden. The Hyundai transformer took a boat from Korea to Vancouver, hopped on a train from Vancouver to Golden, and was then taken by a 128-wheel truck up to the new BC Hydro substation just off Kicking Horse Trail.

“We were delayed a bit, because they weren’t sure the bridge would hold the weight,” said Joe Legaree, site manager for BC Hydro.

After a few days on the train, the transformer was eventually moved through town on the evening of Aug. 21.

“The transformer was the last really big step,” said Greg Reimer, executive vice president of transmission and distribution for BC Hydro. Reimer visited the site last week to see how the project is going.

“We were able to have a look at the work being done at the Golden substation downtown. And we also went up to the Kicking Horse substation to see all the good work that BC Hydro crews and our contractors have done on this project,” he said.

The Columbia Valley Transmission Project is the most significant investment that BC Hydro has made in the upper Columbia Valley’s electrical system in almost 50 years. The capital cost of the project is $154 million.

It will increase the reliability of the electrical supply from Golden to Invermere, and also out to Field.

“This is a great project for BC Hydro, and a great project for the valley in the sense that we will be able to provide reliable, clean energy for generations to come with these improvements,” said Reimer.

The three main components of the project have been building the new Kicking Horse Substation (where the transformer was put into place), connecting that substation to Invermere with a new 230 kilovolt overhead transmission line (112 kilometres down the west side of the Columbia River), and also connecting the new substation with the existing Golden Substation with a 69 kilovolt overhead transmission line.

The project has used about a dozen contractors, including local companies, like the Goetler Brothers, employing close to 150 workers over time.

The project officially started when the first tree was cut in February of 2011, and is expected to be completed and up and running in October 2012.