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60 www. bus- ex. com JANUARY 10 road. The river diversion itself required the construction of four dams, a spillway, 74 dikes and two diversion bays, as well as a 2.9- kilometer- long tunnel and a 12- kilometer network of canals to facilitate the re-engineered water flow. The diversion was recently completed, in November of 2009. " We consider Eastmain 1- A/ Sarcelle/ Rupert to be the project of the decade," said Normand Béchard, director of the Eastmain projects. " That gives you an idea of the importance of it. We build a lot of hydro projects, but this was considered of prime importance for our long-range strategic plan." The utility's representatives spent months explaining and detailing the plans to constituents, who were concerned about the impact of the partial river diversion on the habitat in the area, as well as the human impact on native and non- native populations. " The process took longer than we planned, but we decided to maintain the original schedule for the diversion of the river," Béchard noted. " We had to work very, very fast." To get such projects done on time and on budget and to navigate the often lengthy permitting process required, Hydro- Québec turns to SEBJ, which is essentially a stand- alone project management office working exclusively for the utility. " We can focus exclusively on the project," Béchard said. Hydro- Québec Équipement ( the company's equipment division) and SEBJ handle $ 2.5 billion worth of project each year. " That means we have a huge capacity in terms of very experienced staff that we can combine with outside consulting firms as needed. It's a very team- oriented environment where everything is focused on the projects. Our employees have been able over the years to develop their own expertise and achieve nice professional achievements right here in this office." One area of expertise SEBJ has mastered is in dealing with the wide range of stakeholders involved in any given project. That experience is particularly valuable when dealing with native populations such as the Cree, who fear loss of their way of life due to

Sarcelle powerhouses were designed to be partially constructed of concrete components pre- fabricated at an off- site location and then transported for assembly to the powerhouse site, an approach that enables tighter quality controls and allows for faster closing of the building envelope to provide shelter for the workers in severe weather. " The projects become more costly and more challenging because we are moving into increasingly remote areas," said Béchard. Such projects require construction of temporary workers' facilities and access roads, and require transporting materials over greater distances. More remote projects also often require the creation of new main transmission lines, which adds further costs. " There is a strong interest in finding more renewable energy projects in Canada and hydroelectric projects typically have a 100- year life span, so we are really taking care of the future needs of the province and the environment," Béchard concluded. the partial river diversion and other impacts. " The mitigation is extensive and in the end, the river will be maintained almost as it was before we diverted it," said Béchard. The expertise of SEBJ also means the ability to apply creative solutions to the many engineering and construction challenges that arise on a project. For instance, though most of the dams and dikes constructed in Quebec use a core of clay- based till, a lack of suitable material in the area of another project in development prompted SEBJ to explore an alternative technology. Borrowing a technique widely used in Europe, a dam was constructed with an asphalt concrete core to ensure it remains watertight. Mastering that technology will pay dividends in the future, as more Hydro- Québec projects move into areas where native soils do not include the type of till favored for creating watertight enclosures. Also, the superstructures of the Eastmain- 1- A and Hydro- Québec JANUARY 10 www. bus- ex. com 61