Transmission Line Route Refinement with Simultaneous Geomorphological Assessment

7 October, 2019 | White paper

Sébastien Paradis


Structural Engineer

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Claude Roy


Structural Engineer

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In all transmission line projects, selecting the line route is a key driver to establish feasibility and cost of the project. Making the best engineering decision may be tedious for promoters, utilities, and private companies as they are often faced with strict timeframes to perform the tasks as well as limited expertise. In assisting various clients over time in many transmission line projects, BBA, in collaboration with Poly-Geo, has developed an optimized work process for selecting line routes that has not only allowed to make sound engineering decisions and produce high-quality deliverables, but that has also improved efficiency and communication to meet aggressive timeframes.

The technical process developed comprises five different steps in which the transmission line (T-Line)
engineer and the geomorphologist work closely together:

  1. Preliminary line route definition;
  2. Geomorphological preliminary assessment;
  3. T-Line engineer design coordination with geomorphologist;
  4. Geomorphological detailed mapping;
  5. Line route refinement.

In sum, this particular work process holds many benefits:

  • Work sessions with the T-Line engineer and geomorphologist allow particularly effective communication and capitalizes on the complementarity the two professionals’ skills;
  • Transmission line route selection with simultaneous geomorphological assessment allows realtime optimization of the line route at an early stage;
  • Increased knowledge of soil conditions made possible through photo-interpretation allows targeting of problematic areas at the early stages of the project and improves field investigation planning. This can considerably reduce the costs related to mobilization/demobilization of resources and to helicopter flights that are often required for remote areas;
  • Better understanding of ground conditions leads to more accurate cost estimates at all project stages (foundation types, structure types, material, construction equipment and manpower);
  • Increased knowledge of the terrain leads to a heightened understanding of construction challenges;
  • Quick identification of potential showstoppers.

Note that this white paper was written in collaboration with Line Bariteau (Poly-Geo Inc.) and it was the subject of a presentation at the CIGRE Canada 2019 Conference.

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