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Alcan Project History

Making It Happen

The Kitimat Project was an immense revision of geography. All that earth moving came with strict deadlines. Between 1951 and 1954, 6,000 construction workers made it happen building the power development – dam, tunnel, powerhouse, transmission line, smelter, and town. By 1954, Alcan would harness one-half million horsepower of electricity, at great cost.

Every item for camp living and construction had to be transported in – by air, barge, and overland. Fourteen Sikorsky S-55 helicopters were used as workhorses and load carriers during construction and took men and materials to otherwise inaccessible spots. Without these helicopters, Project engineers would not have maintained the construction schedule.

Workers had to endure isolation and hardship. The magnitude and complexity of the “nuts and bolts” was staggering. Parts of it – the smelter’s deep-sea caisson dock, the aluminum transmission tower – were invented for the Project. All were major feats of engineering and construction.