News

Video shows impressive work by crews high over Sansum Narrows

BC Hydro crew inspects warning markers above Sansum Narrows from helicopter

Aerial markers, those big red or white balls on power lines, have an important job to do. They make transmission lines more visible to low-flying aircraft and helicopters, since the lines can be difficult to see as you approach them. The safety markers on a line crossing Sansum Narrows, between Vancouver Island and Saltspring Island, are prone to damage because of high winds in the area.

So when a BC Hydro crew noticed damage to a transmission line and a missing aerial marker across the 7,000-foot span of line across Sansum Narrows, it wasn't just the possibility of a power outage that made crews to spring into action for emergency repairs. The damage also meant that the power line also represented safety concerns. The line was at the risk of failing where the aerial marker ball was missing.

To make the repairs, BC Hydro's Vancouver Island transmission crew developed new work methods that meant the work could be done more quickly and more cost-effectively. The new methods required some pretty impressive work, including using a helicopter.

Helicopter brought crews to the line, not the line to the crews

To make repairs like these, powerline technicians would normally lower the line down to a barge where it could be repaired, or send a small cart carrying a technician across the conductors (power lines) out to the damaged area. But because the damage to this line was too severe, the crews had to get creative.

Instead, crews designed a new work method that would lower a powerline technician down from a helicopter to the damage, and continually position him as needed to complete the repairs.

Check out the video to see the crews in action.