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Eastern Alberta Transmission Line contractor named

Richard Gilbert

Valard has been selected by ATCO Electric to install transmission infrastructure for the Eastern Alberta Transmission Line (EATL) project.


“We are proud to have been chosen by ATCO Electric for this critical project,” said Adam Budzinski, president of Valard.

“Although Alberta has been growing rapidly for many years, there have been no major reinforcements to the north-south transmission infrastructure in the province for 20 years.”

Under the terms of the project, Valard will install about 500 kilometres of 500-kilovolt high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line between the Edmonton and Calgary regions.

Valard has already started pre-construction activities on the project and construction is expected to begin immediately.

Valard is responsible for all construction aspects of the project, including foundation construction, tower assembly and erection, and conductor stringing.

The EATL transmission line is expected to be complete by the end of 2014.

ATCO Electric Ltd. received approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission for the construction of a proposed $1.6 billion transmission line in November 2012.

The transmission line will extend from the Gibbons area northeast of Edmonton to an area southeast of Calgary near Brooks.

The EATL project involves the construction of converter stations at the north and south ends of the new transmission line, as well as related facilities to convert power from alternating-current to direct-current and to connect the new facilities to the Alberta Interconnected Electric System.

Construction of the project will be undertaken in three phases: pre-construction, construction and post-construction.

The pre-construction activities include land and environmental surveys, which involve field checks along the right-of-way to collect data on vegetation, wildlife, birds, wetlands and soils.

This will allow the environmental conditions just prior to construction to be understood to determine the measures needed for minimizing impacts during construction.

Geotechnical surveys will be undertaken to test the sub surface soil conditions in order to determine the appropriate foundations for the structures.

In addition, temporary pits will be excavated to evaluate the soil types and characteristics at various locations along the right-of-way to determine foundation construction requirements.

The right of way will be prepared by removing trees and brush and tall grass will be mowed.

Construction activities include hauling materials, which will be delivered by tractor-trailers and other vehicles from material yards to the right-of-way and specific workspaces.

Vehicles will travel along the right-of-way or access roads to workspace locations.

Foundations may be driven steel piles, concrete caissons or grillage type foundations, which consist of augured holes partially filled with concrete and then backfilled. The structures are assembled on-site next to the foundations and then raised and set in place by crane or boom truck.

Tractor-trailers will transport large reels of wire to the site, to be strung onto towers or poles.

Helicopters may be used to put the pilot line in place to reduce travel and construction impacts along the right-of-way.

Post-construction activity involves dismantling and removal of temporary structures, clean-up and removal of all construction materials and debris, workspace and travel lane restoration.

This includes re-grading, replacing top soil, de-compacting soil, seeding, and replacing fences as required.

In October 2010, Quanta Services, Inc. acquired Valard Construction, which is one of Canada’s largest electric power line contractors.

The transaction, which was valued at about US$219 million, expanded Quanta’s Canadian presence in Canada and provided Valard’s customer base with access to Quanta’s energy infrastructure resources.

Edmonton-based Valard operates as a platform operating unit of Quanta.

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