Christina Lake Area Development

Client: AltaLink LP
Completion Date: 2014
Location: Wood Buffalo Region, Conklin, Alberta


The AltaLink Pike Project engineer-procure-construct (EPC) scope was to provide a 22-km double-circuit 240-kV transmission line and a greenfield 240/138-kV substation in a remote location in the Alberta oil sands area. The location was approximately 350-km northeast of Edmonton. Burns & McDonnell supported the project for more than two years, starting from a proposal estimating and permitting phase through engineering, procurement, extreme winter construction (-50°C) and, finally, energization. The design and supply of a new tubular steel double circuit horizontal H-frame was used to lower the total installed cost of the project.

In the early phases, the transmission line team suggested an alternate design of double circuit H-frame structures to be more efficient and cost-effective than AltaLink’s standard lattice towers. It was estimated that this design would save $95 million in part by mitigating the construction risks associated with the muskeg terrain. In order to provide these cost and construction risk savings, our engineering team accepted a significant challenge, providing the new design within the already compressed project schedule. Ultimately, this design received the AltaLink 2013 President’s Award of Excellence.

Many more challenges were overcome along the way, a majority of which were attributable to the number of variables associated with the project. The team was exposed to several firsts: a new client, country, environmental and weather conditions, standards, contractors, vendors, and the dreaded currency and metric conversions. This all occurred while operating for the first time within a unique program management/EPC delivery model.

Despite all the challenges, the team was still able to deliver this project on schedule and under budget. This marked the first time in 12 years that an AltaLink project of this type and magnitude had been energized on schedule.


  • Engineering
  • Procurement
  • Construction