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Manitoba Hydro personnel and helicopters are again busy working on the Bipole III hydro transmission line where it comes through southeastern Manitoba. Bruce Owen of Manitoba Hydro says the work being done now involves hanging large insulators from all the towers that were erected in recent months.

"The helicopter will pick up this insulator, this long glass-like object and then we've got people up on the tower who will accept, or rope in, what the helicopter is bringing up and then attach it to the line. Once these insulators are in place, then the line can be strung. This will be done by helicopter as well. The lead cable goes through and it gets pulled through the insulator and then, once that is in place, it pulls through the conductor. The conductor is tension-strung and it never touches or is dragged along the ground. As so many kilometres of conductor is strung, at some point you reach the end of the spool and the cable has to be fused together through a controlled explosion."

Owen says this work will continue for the next few weeks in southeastern Manitoba. He adds the large Erickson Sky Crane helicopter is also back at work installing towers west towards Carman and then up into the Interlake.

Meanwhile, Owen says temporary train tracks will be set up overnight this week and next across Highway #15, just east of the floodway, to deliver large electrical equipment to the Riel2017 06 first transformer moveTransformer being transported on temporary train tracks across Hwy #15. (Photo credit: Manitoba Hydro)converter station that is located there.

Here is the schedule for the temporary rail line:

  1. 11 p.m. - 5 a.m. 2017-06-19 (Monday) empty rail car removal
    2. 11 p.m. - 5 a.m. 2017-06-20 (Tuesday) two transformers arrive
    3. 11 p.m. - 5 a.m. 2017-06-27 (Tuesday) empty rail cars removal

Bipole III is a 500,000-volt direct current transmission line that extends from the Keewatinohk Converter Station northeast of Gillam in northern Manitoba to the Riel Converter Station east of Winnipeg. Bipole III will enhance access to the renewable, hydroelectric sources in Manitoba’s north that drive our province’s prosperity and is critical to Manitoba’s energy security. The anticipated in-service date for Bipole III is July 2018.

Overall on the Bipole III route, there are 3,068 towers. Foundation work is complete for 2,725 of these (89%). Tower assembly and installation work is complete for 1,630 of these towers (53%). Approximately 188 km of conductor stringing has taken place, out of an overall line length of approximately 1,388 km (13%).

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