Towers under review

Part of the downed tower, at right, is submerged in the Fraser River on the Surrey side. - BLACK PRESS FILE PHOTO
Part of the downed tower, at right, is submerged in the Fraser River on the Surrey side.
— image credit: BLACK PRESS FILE PHOTO

BC Hydro is looking for answers into what led to the collapse of a 20-storey power transmission tower into the Fraser River Monday night, an incident that brought traffic to a standstill in Coquitlam Tuesday as crews scrambled to cut down power lines over commuter routes.

At the time, BC Hydro was concerned power lines over United Boulevard, Highway 1 and Lougheed Highway would fall down on top of motorists.

A full review of the incident is underway with findings to be presented to the B.C. Utilities Commission within 30 days, the power company said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, hydro crews in Coquitlam were busy this week installing two tension wires to shore up a 500-kilovolt support tower between Leeder Avenue and Burbidge Street, across the river from the 230-kilovolt Surrey tower that failed Monday.

The fallen tower was nearly 60 years old when it fell due to soil erosion on the south bank of the river, BC Hydro said.

The 100-ton tower underwent a detailed inspection last year but no problems were found with the structure or its footings, according to BC Hydro.

The power company has been monitoring the stability of the two larger 500-kilovolt towers on either side of the river round the clock using lasers and have found no movement since Monday, hydro said.

Hydro crews removed the transmission lines from the water Tuesday and are currently working on removing the tower and reconstructing the 230-kilovolt circuit.

BC Hydro has 47 transmission crossings over the Fraser River, six of them in the Lower Mainland.

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