Environmental studies and line routing
Route with the least impact
From the start of the draft-design study, Hydro-Québec had delineated a vast study area 793 km2, in order to have the best possible knowledge of the territory.
Environmental experts then conducted a brief survey of the study area to determine corridors that would be suitable for the installation of the underground line. Once these corridors are determined, potential line routes can be studied.
In developing the potential routes, Hydro-Québec applied the following criteria:
- Run the line along an existing linear axis (road, railway, etc.) to limit impacts on property
- Ensure easy access to the jobsite to reduce inconvenience
- Preserve woodlands wherever possible
- Limit the impacts of construction on local residents
In an underground line project, although environmental considerations are always taken into account, the line routing criteria have mainly to do with technical factors (underground space, presence of other infrastructure, clearance, etc.). The environmental impacts are mostly related to the construction work.
Using these criteria and taking into account the preliminary results of the environmental inventories, Hydro-Québec studied several potential line routes.
One line route, which included two variants in its southern section, stood out. This line route was presented during public consultation activities which took place between May and July 2013.
Detailed environmental inventories, engineering work and the results of the public consultation from spring and summer 2013 made it possible for Hydro-Québec to determine the line route with the least impact.
Following these activities as well as ongoing technical and environmental studies, the selected line route was confirmed. The route has a total length of 58 km:
- In the northern part of the route, starting at Hertel substation, the line runs along the right-of-way of the 735 kV Hertel–Châteauguay line for 13 km.
- Along Highway 15, on the eastern side, the line will be built in the right-of-way of the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ), over 32,5 km. The exact location of the line will be determined in collaboration with the MTQ.
In the southern part, in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle and Lacolle, two line variants were studied to bring the line to the Canada–U.S. border.
The first variant runs along the Montée Guay right-of-way.
The second variant uses the rights-of-way for routes 202 and 221.
However, based on the data collected, the public consultation activities carried out and the comments received, Hydro-Québec added a third variant to its analysis in July 2013.
This variant runs successively along the rights-of-way of Route 202, Rang Saint-Georges , Rang Edgerton and Route 223.
Analysis revealed that this third 12.5-km variant is the one with the least impact. In fact, the width of the rights-of-way, the type of soil, and the limited vehicle traffic are elements that will facilitate line construction.
The route selected was presented during public consultation activities that took place in August and September 2013.
An analysis of technical, environmental and economic criteria was also carried out for the crossing point at the Canada-U.S. border, where the line will connect to the CHPE’s system in the United States.
The crossing point will be located at the junction of Route 223, in Québec, and Route 11, in New York State.
The underground cable will cross the Canada–U.S. border without requiring any equipment or landmarks at ground level.