All those helicopter trips that are rattling windows in parts of Three Rivers will continue a while longer as the flume is rebuilt that transports Kaweah River water to Kaweah Powerhouse No. 1 (on Sierra Drive near the Mineral King Road junction). The helicopter loads are necessary to haul materials because of the steep terrain and lack of adequate roads near the final one-half mile of the flume immediately adjacent and east of the system’s newly reconstructed forebay.
The historic Kaweah No. 1 hydroelectric system utilizes a flume that is 30,773 feet long. The portion that is being reconstructed is 2,600 feet in length.
Brian Thoburn, SCE regional manager and spokesperson, said the current timetable for completion of the project of year’s end is “weather permitting.”
Thoburn also said the work at the substation on Sierra Drive (just down-canyon from Sequoia Motel) is part of ongoing company maintenance.
“SCE is constantly replacing transformers and upgrading equipment to ensure the reliability and safety of the system,” continued Thoburn.
The private security guard, stationed at Edison’s substation around the clock while the repairs are being made is on-site to prevent theft of equipment and copper wire.
In addition, the contract helicopter is using the Church at Kaweah as a staging area because the Lions Arena was not secure enough. A helicopter was broken into there during the forebay project.