It is said that you can approach the interior of British Columbia from the Rockies or Vancouver and find landscapes every bit as spectacular as those you’ve left behind. As much as that speaks for the majesty of the region, it may also speak for the ruggedness and harshness of Canada’s western province when historian, Jean Barman, described it best (and lightly) as a “difficult topography.”

AECOM is the design engineer on the $700 million design-build project with Flatiron-Graham, a Joint Venture (FGJV) entails connecting over 250 km of transmission line for BC Hydro from Merritt to Coquitlam. The lattice steel towers on the job range in height from 30m to 75m (100 to 250 feet) tall and weigh as much as 100 metric tons. Typically the towers are assembled and placed by crane (80% of the project) unless the terrain is inaccessible.

One unique feature of the towers’ structural design was inclusion of “snow legs” and “snow platforms” for the bases to withstand the massive snow pressures (up to 10m of snow depth) imposed on the towers and its legs from steep slopes with creeping annual snow pack (glacial effect). To AECOM’s knowledge, this has never been done before in this type of environment or conditions.