Daniel-Johnson Dam, Baie Comeau

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The Daniel-Johnson Dam, formerly known as Manic-5, is a multiple-arch buttress dam on the Manicouagan River that creates the annular Manicouagan Reservoir. The dam is composed of 14 buttresses and 13 arches and is 214 km north of Baie-Comeau in Quebec, Canada. The dam was constructed between 1959 and 1970 for the purpose of hydroelectric power production and supplies water to the Manic-5 and Manic-5-PA power houses with a combined capacity of 2,596 MW. The dam is 214 m tall, 1,314 m long and contains 2,200,000 m3 of concrete, making it the largest dam of its type in the world.The dam was named after Daniel Johnson, Sr., the 20th Premier of Quebec who was responsible for starting the project while being minister in Duplessis' government. Johnson died on 26 September 1968, on the day he was to preside over the scheduled inauguration of the dam. The facility is owned and operated by Hydro-Québec.BackgroundDuring the summers of 1919 and 1920, hydrological studies were conducted on the Manicouagan and Outardes rivers, flowing into the St. Lawrence near the town of Baie-Comeau. The combined flow was then estimated at 40 million cubic meters, making it one of the largest hydrological systems in Canada. Although harnessing of this potential was considered interesting, its distance from major load centers and the lack of roads in the area were identified as major drawbacks. In addition, building dams in the wilderness was considered too costly.
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  • Schedule this visit in the summertime. We drove and stayed in Baie Comeau specifically to tour the Daniel-Johnson Dam (formerly called Manic 5). It is spectacular and the tour is very interesting. (To...  more »
  • After experiencing the wilderness of the Trans Labrador Highway it is amazing to see what monumental tracks can humans leave, changing the world. The enormous dam fills one with awe!  more »
  • Impressive site and engineering. The technical outline of the project are interesting to discover. Visit inside the plant and above the generating units is a unique sensory experience. Courteous staff. Good safety. Moreover, guides have learned a lot of unnecessary information (e.g. the personalities who have visited the power plant, which René Lévesque, etc) and they can't answer questions that deviate from the basic text (for example, comparison) with the nuclear of the effects of greenhouse gas emissions). The whole is really Quebec City-centric and limited. The visit to the site thereby loses a lot of interest. The road 389, although paved, this many sections in rehabilitation, in view of the heavy forest traffic flowing. The route is sinuous and consisting of a succession of climbs and steep descents. Better to guard a truck or, at the very least, of a motor vehicle with a sufficient ground clearance and good power. Our Honda Civic pulled, but we hung the underbody of the car.
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