AULD’S COVE: Nova Scotia Power is in the final construction phase of a project that will see six new transmission towers carrying high voltage electrical lines across the Strait of Canso, which will improve service reliability by providing an important back-up power connection between Cape Breton and the mainland.

“As area residents will know, we’ve been building new transmission towers across the Strait of Canso since February, with site clearing and tower construction now complete,” said Tom Flewwelling, senior project engineer with Nova Scotia Power. “One of the final pieces of work is to install high voltage electrical lines on the new towers that will create two separate circuits across the Strait. This separation will establish an alternative power connection between Cape Breton and mainland Nova Scotia, improving service reliability for our customers in the event of a significant outage.”

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Installing the electrical lines on the six new transmission towers requires a significant coordinated effort by a number of personnel and different types of equipment to pull and tension the lines to the appropriate height across water, land, a railway and roadways. As always, safety is the top priority and the daily work schedule is weather dependent. Navigational lights that were on the older towers are also in the process of being moved to the new, higher towers.

In order to safely allow the electrical line installation across the Strait, marine traffic may be restricted and delays should be expected in the area of Georges Bay and the Canso Causeway locks. Vessels intending to travel through this area should contact the onsite standby vessel or the Canso Lock, and proceed with caution through the area.

“We really appreciate the community’s patience as we’ve progressed from pouring concrete pads earlier this year to the more recent and very visible tower assembly,” said Flewwelling. “Building the tallest transmission towers in Atlantic Canada is no small feat, and we are proud to be working with a number of very skilled and safety-oriented local contractors and businesses to complete this important reliability project for Nova Scotians.”

The new Strait of Canso transmission towers will also support the addition of renewable energy from Newfoundland and Labrador through the Maritime Link, which will enable Nova Scotia Power to achieve a requirement to generate electricity from 40 per cent renewable energy in 2020.

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A St. FX graduate and native of Arichat, Jake Boudrot has been the editor of The Reporter since 2001. He currently lives on Isle Madame.