Timiskaming Dam Complex: Dam replacement project

From: Public Services and Procurement Canada

Learn about the Timiskaming Dam Complex and the project to replace the Ontario and Quebec dams.

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Project background

The Timiskaming Dam Complex is located 65 kilometres northeast of North Bay, Ontario. The dam complex was originally built between 1909 and 1913. Located on either side of Long Sault Island on the Ottawa River, the complex comprises two structurally independent dams:

The Quebec dam was rebuilt in the 1930s following a foundation failure. Although it is still safe, it is nearing the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced.

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) proceeded with the replacement of the Ontario dam first because it was in poorer condition than the Quebec dam. Work started in 2014 and was completed in 2017.

The dams control the water level in Lake Timiskaming upstream and the flow of the Ottawa River downstream. They also control the last major reservoir on the Ottawa River upstream of the St. Lawrence River at Montréal and provide water storage for hydroelectric generation downstream.

The complex is also an important interprovincial road for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, and it accommodates a natural gas pipeline.

Timiskaming Dam Complex: Quebec dam replacement project

View enlarged image of the Ontario dam of the Timiskaming Dam Complex

The Ontario dam of the Timiskaming Dam Complex (from left to right: the Quebec dam, Long Sault Island and the Ontario dam [click on the image to enlarge it])

Project overview

Témiscaming, Quebec
Locate Timiskaming Dam Complex on a map
Type of project
Replacement of the Quebec portion of the Timiskaming Dam Complex
Lead department
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Construction firms
Tetra Tech QI Inc. (engineering design contract)
Project status
The project is in the design phase

Project description

The old Timiskaming Dam Complex is nearing the end of its serviceable life. The purpose of this project is to build a new structure about 25 metres downstream of the existing dam. After the new structure is finished, we will demolish the old structure. The new dam will take over the task of regulating water flow in the river.

Like the old dam, the new dam will have a 2-lane roadway that connects the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

The new structure will be approximately 75 metres long. It will include 10 bays. The bays will have mechanical gates that open and close to regulate the flow of water. These gates are called sluice gates.

The old dam used logs instead of gates.

The new dam will use gates instead of logs, making it easier to manage and operate. This modification will result in more efficient water level management. It will also allow the dam to react quickly to significant weather events.

As well, a new fish ladder is being considered. The ladder would allow fish to pass from downstream to upstream of the structure. This fish passage is planned to be about 140 metres long. It would be located on Long Sault Island.

Commuters will continue to use the existing roadway until the new dam is complete.

PSPC will continue to work with the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board throughout construction to operate the dam and manage the Ottawa River’s reservoirs.

Project status

On September 23, 2016, PSPC awarded a $2.39 million engineering design contract to Tetra Tech QI Inc. for the replacement of the Quebec dam. The replacement of the Quebec portion of the dam complex is currently in its design phase.

The design work will be completed after the environmental process. We will then solicit bids for the construction work. Construction is expected to begin in 2026 and be completed in 2030.

Environmental assessment

On June 20, 2018, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (now called the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada) started a federal environmental assessment for this project, pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

On August 21, 2018, the Agency issued the final Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines to PSPC for the preparation of an environmental impact statement.

PSPC has been amending the engineering design contract. A first draft of the environmental impact statement is expected to be submitted in 2022.

Consultation with Indigenous peoples and accommodation

PSPC has been consulting with potentially affected Indigenous peoples to obtain their views on:

The consultation will be done in respect of the Crown’s constitutional duty to consult and accommodate Indigenous peoples.

The intent is to conduct this consultation with a collaborative, nation-to-nation perspective reflective of a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples.

Related project: Repairing the traffic deck

The purpose of this project is to address the deterioration of the roadway on the current Quebec dam. We want to ensure that this vital link between the provinces remains fully functional, without restrictive load posting.

Construction started in August 2019 and is expected to last until the summer of 2021. The work is planned to minimize impacts on users.

Throughout the construction period, the following will apply:

Timiskaming Dam Complex: Ontario dam replacement project

View enlarged image of the Ontario dam of the Timiskaming Dam Complex

The Ontario dam of the Timiskaming Dam Complex (click to view enlarged image)

Project overview

Thorne, Ontario
Locate Timiskaming Dam Complex on a map
Type of project
Replacement of the Ontario portion of the Timiskaming Dam Complex
Lead department
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Construction firms
Hatch Ltd. (engineering design contract)
North America Construction Ltd. (construction contract)
$32.9 million
Project status
Completed in March 2017

Project description

The old Ontario portion of the Timiskaming Dam Complex was more than a century old and needed to be replaced.

Key milestones

The replacement of the Ontario portion of the dam was part of a five-year work plan.

Reduced flooding risk

PSPC had a water management plan to ensure that water levels were within normal levels during the construction period. During the replacement of the Ontario dam, the Quebec dam was used for water management.

Local traffic

All vehicles continued to use the previously existing road (old dam) during construction.

Changes were made to the road that crosses the dam:

Boat launch

The boat launch remained accessible to the public during and after construction.

The boat launch is not owned or operated by the Government of Canada. No work was performed on that facility.

Recreational fish

Recreational fishing is known to take place at the Ontario dam, but during construction, fishing was restricted because of safety considerations. Restrictions are no longer in effect.

Latest news about this project

July 12, 2017: Government of Canada officially opens Latchford and Timiskaming Ontario dams

Related links

More information

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