CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C. – Seismic upgrade work is continuing at the John Hart dam.

BC Hydro crews are moving forward with the design of the seismic upgrade project.

“We’re getting close to nailing down the design of the upgrade, so it can withstand a one in 10,000 year earthquake,” said utilities spokesperson with BC Hydro, Stephen Watson.

“To fill in some data gaps, we’re going to be doing some drilling within the John Hart reservoir, and in around the John Hart dam.”

He said that work will begin the week of July 9th and last for about three months.

Motorists driving around the dam, given that the road is now open again, will see some activity, but BC Hydro is not anticipating any road closures.

“We look forward to having this information to fill those data gaps so we can move on with the design, so that we can eventually go through upper management’s approval for funding, regulatory processes and potentially start working on seismically upgrading the dam as early as 2021,” Watson explained.

The dam upgrade project also includes a new overflow spillway under the road deck at the spillway section of the dam, upgrades to the concrete dam like the deck-pier connection, and a full replacement of the spillway gate works – including gates and the hoist tower structure.

Watson said that the utility has been consulting with First Nations in the area, as well as a liaison committee in the Campbell River region.

“We’re moving things along as we can, and as more information is provided, then we’ll have a bit of a wider reach,” he said.

“We anticipate going to the BC Utilities Commission, maybe around 2020 so there’s still some time. We’re still moving along here as far as seismically upgrading the dam.”

Watson said while this design process is underway, there are no safety notices in effect for visitors to the area.