Bridge River system upgrades

Image of Bridge 2 powerhouse from above

More than 100 projects planned for an aging system

BC Hydro's Bridge River facilities are capable of generating 550 MW of power but are currently restricted to less than 455 MW, as most of the equipment is between 55 and 70 years old and needs to be refurbished.

We're spending almost $400 million between 2015 and 2019 to repower our Bridge River facilities.

In all, we're planning more than 100 major projects in the system, ranging from generating unit upgrades at Bridge 2 to slope drainage improvements.

See our story and video about the Bridge River system

Water is used three times before flowing into the Fraser River

The Bridge River is about 120 km long and flows southeast from the snow fields of the 3,182-metre Monmouth Mountain to connect with the Fraser River near Lillooet. Hydroelectric development of the Bridge River system began in 1927 and was completed in 1960.

BC Hydro's Bridge River system — which is about 300 km north of Vancouver — consists of two reservoirs and a lake, three dams and four generating stations. Lajoie Dam and Powerhouse (Downton Reservoir), Bridge 1 and 2 Powerhouses (Terzaghi Dam and Carpenter Lake Reservoir) and Seton Dam and Powerhouse (Seton Lake).

When constructed, BC Hydro engineers designed the system to use the water three times before releasing it to the Fraser River. Waters from the Downton Reservoir initially pass through the LaJoie Dam and powerhouse before entering the Carpenter Reservoir. From there, water is diverted through tunnels and penstocks from Carpenter Reservoir to the two powerhouses on Seton Lake. Finally, the water passes through the Seton powerhouse before joining the Fraser River.

When built in 1946, Bridge Powerhouse No. 1 was the largest source of electricity in the province.

The Bridge River system currently produces about 3,000 gigawatt hours per year, enough to power almost 300,000 homes for a year. The electricity generated on the system accounts for about 6% of BC Hydro's total generation.