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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Members of the media and local Council had an opportunity to tour the LAR workshop, on Wednesday, in Fort St. John.

It was a close-up opportunity to see tradespeople fabricating the large penstock sections that will be delivered and installed at the Site C Dam.

A penstock is a large steel pipe in a hydroelectric generating station that brings water from the reservoir to the turbines.

According to B.C. Hydro, the Site C Dam will have six penstocks to direct water into its six turbines and generator units. Each penstock will be made of 14 segments, welded together at the dam site. Each section takes about 65 days to create.

A conceptual drawing of what the Site C Dam will look like once the penstocks are installed. Source B.C. Hydro

The pipes will be 80 metres long by 10 metres in height. Each segment weighs 42 tonnes and requires a very large specialized crane, one of only four in the world, to set them into place.

One segment of penstock weighs 42 tonnes. Photo by Scott Brooks

The first completed sections will begin to be delivered to Site C by large transports this week.

LAR currently employs 17 welders at the shop and will employ another 20 welders for the installation of the penstocks. 10 out of the 17 welders are local.

Local welder, Natasha Callbreath, says the Site C Project is good for the local economy as it provides jobs to locals and she adds that it is nice to have the ability to be home every night while working as a welder.

“I think it’s a good project for jobs and for the local town, like Fort St. John. It brings more people to the airport. Like when I was flying out, there were many people from Site C. I think it’s a good project and I am glad that I am working here. It’s nice to be home every night. I’m working and I have a son, so I’m a working mom, and it’s nice to be able to weld and be home every night.”

The welding project is expected to last for two or three years.

This project is in partnership with B.C. Hydro, Le Groupe LAR, and the AFDE.

For more information on Site C Dam projects, you can visit

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