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  • Writer's pictureKristian Electric


In 1992, The Oldman River Dam was constructed just north of Pincher Creek Alberta, on the Old Man River. The Dam was built in response to many years of drought in the southern part of the province, and to not only provide water resources, but to increase farming lots, recreation, and be used as a hydro-power source for the residents of the area.

Like most dams of this nature, the Old Man River dam was outfitted with a Stop Log Lifter.

The basic principle of a dam, is to block the oncoming river water and control its flow through to the other side. This regulates the reservoir level and the flow rate in the river for irrigation and flood control. Water flow is controlled by the use of the main gates which open to allow river water through to the spillway. Stop logs are also called temporary gates. They are stacked in front of the main gates, so that they may be opened completely for cleaning, maintenance and repairs. The Stop Log Lifter Hoist is used to install the temporary gates or stop logs in place. The Oldman River Dam contains 7 main gates that open to the spillway, and the hoist must be able to access all 7 gates. With a monorail running along the entirety of the dam, it allows the Log Lifter Hoist to move and install the Stop Log Gates as required.

In September 2014, Kristian Electric was commissioned by Alberta Environment to remove the 20 ton capacity stop log lifter hoist from the Dam, repair, modify and re-install.

Since secondary highway 785 runs across the dam, Kristian Electric had to work with the Alberta transportation department and highway authority to coordinate road closures for both the removal and re-installment stages of the job. Once the roads were safely closed, two large mobile cranes were set up on the highway, to aid in the process.

Strong Chinook winds often blow off the mountains and the Pincher Creek area can be very windy. The strongest recorded wind ever in the area was 177 KMs per hour. This was a huge safety factor to consider while working on this job, not to mention the thick fog that arises in the area from the river itself.

In order to remove the hoist, the end stops of the monorail needed to be removed, and the hoist rolled off the end.

The two mobile cranes assisted in the removal of the hoist and placement on to the back of a tractor trailer that was parked on the narrow deck of the dam.

Once the hoist made its way to our Edmonton fabrication shop, our team went to work. The hoist was meticulously inspected, lubricated and checked again. By November, all repairs and modifications were complete, including extension of the pendant cable for safety, and the hoist was returned to the dam, and carefully re-installed onto its monorail. During the installment, new wire rope was installed to both drums of the hoist. Once complete, the unit was load tested and handed over to the customer.

With all the obstacles aside, one thing this job site had going for it was the view. The winding river among the fog covered coulees, dusted with autumn snow. Even a few deer came out to watch us work! All in all you could say it was a DAM good job!

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