Last updated on July 01, 2015


This site is dedicated to all the men and women having worked on the Niagara Tunnel Project




A special THANK YOU is extended to the following companies and persons
 for allowing access to obtain information and photographs contained herein.





Ernst Gschnitzer - Strabag Inc.
Project Manager Niagara Tunnel Project

Erich Kapeller - Strabag Inc. (Ret.)
Senior Construction Engineering Manager Niagara Tunnel Project

Johan Viljoen - Strabag Inc.
Project Health & Safety Manager Niagara Tunnel Project

Christian Berger - Strabag Inc.
General Superintendent Niagara Tunnel Project

Bernhard Mitis - Strabag Inc.
Construction Manager Niagara Tunnel Project

Richard Goertz - Strabag Inc.
Design Manager Niagara Tunnel Project


Alexander Herz
Cogeis S.p.A.
Tunnel Construction Director
Tunnel Department

Richard Everdell
Project Director - Niagara Tunnel Project
Ontario Power Generation

Dean Norton
Public Affairs and Property Management Advisor
Ontario Power Generation


while the information contained on this site is believed to be accurate
 it has not been reviewed or approved by the above named companies




VOICES from the Niagara Tunnel - A Living History

VOICES from the Niagara Tunnel - A Living History
(click link above)


To Strabag and all the workers; thank you for sharing part of this historic project with me.












April 21st 2015 -

Hatch Mott MacDonald Wins ACEC Grand Award for Niagara Tunnel Project

Hatch Mott MacDonald has received a Grand Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) for its work on

The Niagara Tunnel project. The award was presented at the 2015 Engineering Excellence Awards gala held in Washington, D.C., on April 21.

Describing the project in its program, ACEC said, “More than six miles long and 43 feet in diameter, the new Niagara Tunnel is the largest renewable energy project in the world. Providing much-needed power for the city of Niagara Falls, it is located deep beneath the city and is more than one and a half times wider than the English Channel Tunnel.”

ACEC noted that among the project’s firsts was its use of the world’s largest hard-rock boring machine, with cutterheads weighing about 66 tons (60 metric tons) each, and the world’s largest nonreinforced concrete tunnel liner.

CEO and President Nick DeNichilo, who was on hand to accept the award, said, “We are proud to have taken part in this historic international engineering project. The Niagara Tunnel is not only a major engineering feat but an important part of Ontario’s green energy future.”




December 9th 2014 -

Hatch Mott MacDonald Earns A Major Award For Niagara Tunnel Project

The ACEC honored HMM with two Awards of Excellence at the Canadian Consulting Engineering (CCE) Awards Gala held on October 23, 2014, in Ottawa. HMM received one CCE Award of Excellence in association with its parent company Hatch Ltd., in the category of Natural Resources, Mining, Industry & Energy. The award was given for work on the Niagara Tunnel Project in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

HMM has also received previous awards for the Niagara Tunnel Project, including a 2014 Award of Merit (Consulting Engineers of Ontario), 2013 Canadian Tunnelling Project of the Year (Tunneling Association of Canada) and 2013 Premier Project Award (Platts Global Energy Awards).




December 4th 2014 -

Ontario’s Best In Concrete Construction Celebrated for Niagara Tunnel Project

The province’s concrete industry has recognized excellence and innovation in a mix of projects with presentation of the 2014 Ontario Concrete Awards (OCA).The awards were presented in four major categories: architectural, structural, materials and constructability, and sustainable concrete construction. Both cast-in-place and precast concrete projects are eligible. A record number of submissions was received this year.

Winner in the Infrastructure Category was Ontario Power Generation's Niagara Tunnel Project in Niagara Falls.  

This project consisted of a  10.1 kilometre long, 14.4 metre diameter tunnel which has a cast-in-place concrete liner. The project utilized three different types of concrete. The team included ILF Consulting Engineers, David F. Wood Consulting Ltd., Strabag Inc. and Dufferin Concrete.

- Patricia Williams, Daily Commercial News




May 15th 2014 -

Consulting Engineers of Ontario (CEO) Honors HMM for Niagara Tunnel Project

The Consulting Engineers of Ontario (CEO) has honored Hatch Mott MacDonald with two Awards of Merit: one for the King Road Grade Separation project and one for the Niagara Tunnel project. The Awards of Merit program applauds projects that enhance economic, social, and environmental well-being in Ontario and around the globe. The awards were presented on April 12. Nick DeNichilo, President and CEO of Hatch Mott MacDonald, said, “I am very proud of the HMM staff and partners who worked on both of these award-winning projects.

The Niagara Tunnel will provide renewable hydroelectric power for many years to come, and the King Road project demonstrates how innovation and cooperation can overcome a difficult technical challenge.” The Niagara Tunnel (see video) was bored by the world’s largest hard-rock tunnel boring machine, 140 meters (459 feet) below the City of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Built in a tourist-sensitive environment, the tunnel has an excavated diameter of 14.4 meters or 47.2 feet (the height of a four-story building).

The project was completed almost 10% under budget and nine months ahead of schedule, with half the average provincial rate of lost-time injuries and zero life-threatening injuries. The King Road project (see video) required separating the road from three Canadian National Railway mainline tracks that carry over 100 Metrolinx, VIA, Amtrak, and CN trains daily. HMM developed an innovative open-cut bridge-jacking technique that minimized disruption to the community and resulted in substantial costs savings for the clients.

The Niagara Tunnel project was also named 2013 Canadian Tunnelling Project of the Year by the Tunnelling Association of Canada, and received the 2013 Premier Project Award at the Platts Global Energy Awards. The King Road Grade Separation project also received a 2014 Gold Award from the Massachusetts chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). On April 29, it was honored as one of eight national Grand Award recipients at a gala event held by the ACEC in Washington, DC.




March 10th 2014 -

Niagara Tunnel Project Dedication Plaque Erected at the Intake Site By Niagara Parks Commission/Strabag

The Niagara Tunnel Project Dedication Plaque has been erected at the tunnel intake site on the Niagara Parks Commission property as requested by Strabag. The plaque was designed and erected during the past several weeks by Strabag. The monument rock is an actual rock taken from the intake construction area. The half-circle concrete pad around the monument is 14.4m diameter to represent the TBM cutterhead size. There was an unveiling ceremony on March 10th at 11:00am.




Niagara Tunnel Dedication Plaque   Niagara Tunnel Project Dedication Plaque   Niagara Tunnel Project Dedication Plaque




December 12th 2013 -

Premier Project Award for Engineering Awarded to Hatch Ltd. & Hatch Mott MacDonald of Canada

Each year, the Platts Global Energy Awards program provides a microcosm of the world’s energy markets; viewing the competitors and winners gives an excellent overview of the year’s top stories. The 15th year, which garnered more than 200 nominations from 26 countries, reveals an industry that continues to diversify – in product development, technological advancements, and geographic presence.


The winner of the Premier Project Award in the Engineering category is ambitious not only in its dazzling scale, but also in its contribution towards achieving a larger goal. Ontario Power Generation’s Niagara Tunnel, located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, is the largest hydroelectric project completed in Ontario in the past 50 years.

The tunnel diverts water from the Niagara River and carries it downstream to the Sir Adam Beck generating complex, propelling water by gravity alone at an incredible 500 cubic metres (17,660 cubic feet) per second, fast enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in a matter of seconds. This renewable energy initiative was undertaken by consulting engineering firm Hatch, a 2,400-person employee-owned firm focusing on infrastructure, transportation, and environmental engineering.

Construction of the Niagara Tunnel involved the use of “Big Becky,” the world’s largest hard rock tunnel-boring machine (TBM), which is as high as a four-story building, longer than a football field and weighs in at 4,000 tonnes. The TBM excavated a 10.2-km long water diversion tunnel between the Niagara River above the Horseshoe Falls and the Sir Adam Beck hydro-generating complex down river. The tunnel is nearly twice the diameter of the Euro Channel railway tunnels, and will deliver an additional 500 M3’s of water to hydro stations, facilitating an increase of 1,500 GWh (13%) in average annual clean renewable and reliable energy production.

Hatch overcame many logistical hurdles on the project. All underground work had to be accessed from a single entrance at the outlet end of the tunnel, so all tunnel operational equipment had to be designed to allow traffic to pass to and from the TBM. Concrete was at times pumped 1.4 km, requiring very precise mix design and quality control. And because the excavation proceeded from the outlet end of the water conveyance to the intake end, which is located immediately below the International Niagara Control Structure in the upper Niagara River, about 2 km upstream of the Horseshoe Falls, preventative measures had to be taken to prevent potentially serious groundwater inflow during TBM excavation.

The Niagara Tunnel was safely completed in March 2013, nine months ahead of schedule and $100M under its $1.6B budget. The tunnel will provide the province with a reliable, maintenance free source of clean energy for the next 100 years. It is also a key element of what judges called Ontario Power’s “ambitious but attainable” long-term energy plan including closure of the remaining three coal-fired generating stations. The judges unanimously praised Hatch and its Niagara Tunnel for its overall technical complexity, logistical execution, and innovative use of technology.





November 15th 2013 -

Niagara Tunnel named "Canadian Project of the Year" by the Tunnelling Association of Canada

At a gala dinner awards ceremony in Vancouver on Friday evening, TAC President Rick Lovat announced the awards that were introduced by a video summary and presented by officials of the TAC executive committee. Canadian project of the year for 2013 was announced as the Niagara water delivery tunnel for Ontario Power Generation that came on line to increase hydropower generation at the Sir Adam Beck installation on the Canadian side of the Niagara River in March 2013. As a marker in the history of international underground construction, the Niagara Tunnel Project is recognized for overcoming its many challenges and difficulties and for the several firsts achieved by its design and construction. As well as being excavated by the largest hard rock gripper TBM to date at 14.4m diameter, the tunnel is lined with the largest diameter pre-stressed in-situ concrete lining ever. Started in August 2006, excavation of the 10km long tunnel was completed finally in March 2011.

In accepting the Canada project of the year award, Rick Everdell, Project Director for owner Ontario Power Generation (OPG); John Tait, Project Manager for Hatch Mott MacDonald, OPG's representative, in association with Hatch, on the project; and Oskar Roittner, Project Director for Strabag, the contractor; each explained the geological difficulties encountered, the contractual strains faced as time and costs increased and the tremendous efforts expended, and by The Robbins Company also as supplier of the record 14.4m diameter hard rock TBM, in keeping the project on track and push towards the successful completion.

Tunnelling Association of Canada



October 31st 2013 - 

Strabag will have completed their contractual obligation to OPG in the building of the Niagara Tunnel. Strabag staff will move from their outlet headquarters on October 28th and will continue to maintain a Canadian/North American office in Mississauga, Ontario. The trailer complex used as the main offices of Strabag at the outlet site has been sold by auction and will be removed from the site on or before November 20th 2013. The intake work assembly site (located on the west side of the Niagara Parkway) has been turned over to the Niagara Parks Commission.

Strabag has asked the Niagara Parks Commission to approve and erect the placement of a commemorative plaque at the Niagara Tunnel Project intake area with wording as follows:




As in many projects of this magnitude in Europe and in North America, a plaque is erected to commemorate the project and honour the men and women constructors. This particular project is no exception and Strabag SE is requesting to place a bronze plaque at the intake area of the tunnel. The plaque will be similar to the 70 or so plaques along the Niagara River Recreation Trail and not unlike another bronze plaque in the area dedicated to the construction of the original Ontario Hydro tunnels built in in 1950.

Niagara Parks staff recommended to Strabag SE, a slightly more informative plaque without the large red STRABAG logo, however the company wishes to present to the Commission the plaque as shown. A more detailed plaque regarding construction of the tunnel is scheduled to be placed on City of Niagara Falls lands at the intersection of Thorold Stone Road and Stanley Avenue.

Strabag SE wishes to have a dedication / unveiling of the plaque in November 2013.




A Panoramic of the Outlet Channel - October 15th 2013

A Panoramic of the Outlet Channel - October 15th 2013




The Reclaimed Niagara Tunnel Intake Site

Reclaimed Niagara Tunnel Intake Site - September 19th 2013




Outlet Site Clean Up

Niagara Tunnel Outlet Site - September 17th 2013



Outlet Work Site

Niagara Tunnel Outlet Site - September 17th 2013




September 17th 2013 - 

The project continues to wind down quickly.

The intake site has been reclaimed and landscaped to include a bicycle/pedestrian path along the rivers edge. Strabag has returned the intake site to the Niagara Parks Commission. The parking lot next to the International Water Control Works has been returned to OPG. The properties were returned to their respective owners at the end of August 2013. The OPG parking lot nearest the Niagara Tunnel intake remains reinforced with a concrete base sufficient to support a crane of a size and weight capable of lifting and dropping the stop-log gates into place in order to stop the flow of water into the tunnel in case of an emergency. The stop-logs and their respective gantries are being stored at the outlet site.

The intake site work yard on the opposite site of the road continues to be cleaned before being returned to the Niagara Parks Commission. The Robbins Company is currently working to dismantle the TBM main-frame and main bearing for removal purposes. The cutterhead is all but a memory. Most parts were reclaimed for scrap while several stripped down pieces are being stored off-site pending a decision as to whether or not they will be placed along the City of Niagara Falls Millennium Trail (as yet to be developed north of Thorold Stone Road).

The Niagara Parks Commission is giving thought to establishing their greenhouse facilities at the former intake works yard.

The outlet site is undergoing final grading before being returned to OPG on or before October 31st 2013.

The current Strabag staff compliment include 5 HQ members, eight workmen and three security staff. It is anticipated that Strabag will be moving off of the outlet site by mid-October to their new Canadian Headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario.  This will mark the end of this massive project.  

A water flow test to determine the flow capacity through the Niagara Tunnel was conducted in June 2013. Although the final report has not been published, the tunnel did meet or exceed the design specifications of 500 m3/s, +/-2%.




Former Intake Site Landscaping

Niagara Tunnel Intake Site - August 16th 2013



July 17th 2013 - 

International Water Power & Dam Construction has declared the "North American Project of the Year" - The Niagara Tunnel Project

The Niagara tunnel project officially came into operation in March 2013, to provide renewable power to Ontario for the next 100 years. The project has been selected by International Water Power & Dam Construction as the North American project of the year for 2013. Michael Stewart, Ontario’s Senior Economic Officer in the UK, provides details on this impressive undertaking.

In March 2013, after eight years of tireless work, the largest hydroelectric project in Ontario in the past 50 years came to completion to the cheers of hundreds of onlookers. The new 10.2km tunnel is now channeling additional water from the Niagara River to Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) Sir Adam Beck Generation Station, with the water travelling at a rate of 500m3/sec. The tunnel delivers enough water to increase average annual energy output by 1.6BkWhr - enough to supply 160,000 Ontario homes with clean, renewable hydroelectric power.

Ontario is rapidly emerging as an international hub for developing innovative clean tech solutions and delivering them to markets worldwide. The Niagara Tunnel Project, which was built at a cost of $1.6B, is part of Ontario's long-term energy plan to produce and use clean and renewable sources of energy including wind, water, solar, biomass and biogas. Today, more than 80% of electricity generated in Ontario comes from these clean energy sources, and by the end of 2013 Ontario will close down its last two coal plants in southern Ontario - a full year ahead of schedule.

But it's not just about power generation. The province recently completed a $1B rollout of 4.7 million smart meters - one of the largest smart grid deployments in North America - and is now investing nearly $2B to further improve its smart grid infrastructure.

Like Ontario's long-term energy strategy, the Niagara Tunnel project is ambitious in every way: in physical scope and technical complexity - the tunnel has a world record-breaking diameter of more than 14m, almost twice the diameter of the Euro Channel Tunnels. Austrian firm Strabag SE was hired as the design-build contractor and engineering firm Hatch Mott MacDonald Ltd. provided technical and management oversight. Robbins, a manufacturer of underground construction machinery, was contracted to build the world's largest hard-rock tunnel boring machine for the project. Fully assembled, the 4,000-tonne Big Becky - nicknamed by local school children - measured an impressive 150m long and 14.4m high, as tall as a four-storey building. To bore its way from the tunnel's outlet to the intake at the other end, Big Becky was required to bore through more than 1.7Mm3 of rock. Its 85 disk cutters could cut through about 2.5m of hard rock per hour.

Construction at the outlet began in September 2005. Six months later, Strabag and its subcontractors started working at the intake, located near International Niagara Control Works, part of the system that controls the volume and flow of water over the Horseshoe and American Falls. Then Big Becky started drilling in September 2006.

The project has provided employment and about $1B in economic benefits to the Niagara region. At its peak almost 600 people were employed directly on the project. But as might be expected with an undertaking of this magnitude and complexity, there have been a number of challenges along the way.

Machine and crew faced difficult ground conditions, characterized by high in situ pressure, swelling rock, aggressive groundwater, and steep grades at either end of the tunnel. To address overbreak problems with the Queenston Shale rock formation surrounding sections of the tunnel, OPG realigned part of the tunnel and reduced its length by about 200m.

After Big Becky pushed through to the intake end of the tunnel in May 2011, the crew moved on to Phase II of the project, which involved installation of a waterproof membrane and about 400,000m3 of cast-in-place concrete lining.
Some people have wondered if the Niagara Tunnel might affect the water flow over the Horseshoe Falls. The 1950 Niagara River Water Diversion Treaty stipulates the minimum flow over the falls for scenic purposes therefore the scenic flow commitment will not change. However, when the tunnel is in service, power flow available to Canada will exceed OPG's diversion capability less than 15% of the time.

With the Niagara Tunnel complete, Ontario has moved one step closer to its goal of generating 9,000 megawatts of hydro power by 2018 and creating a diverse and reliable supply of clean, renewable energy for Ontarians. This is a significant provincial achievement and one that will provide Ontario with a source of clean energy for the next 100 years.  - article by Water Power Magazine

International Water Power & Dam Construction



Niagara Tunnel Intake Site - July 9th 2013

Niagara Tunnel Intake Site - July 9th 2013




Paving a pathway at the intake site

Paving the bicycle/pedestrian path along the intake site - June 26th 2013




June 8th 2013 - 

The cutterhead monument was scrapped due to liabilities of having a 40' high rusty steel structure erected in a public place. The City of Niagara Falls has expressed an interest in erecting a few smaller pieces along the Millenium Trail, so the cutterhead may be on public display after all.

Ontario Power Generation will keep select pieces of the cutterhead that are being stored by OPG until a final location is determined for a future public display.




May 31st 2013 - 

Ontario Power Generation will be hosting a used equipment auction at the Outlet office site on June 17th & 18th. Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers.





May 14th 2013 - 

Ontario Power Generation will be hosting a used equipment auction at the Outlet office site on June 17th & 18th.

The final flow test will take place in June 2013.

The plan to re-erect the entire cutter-head or a portion thereof from the TBM "Big Becky" in the small park under construction at the Intake site as a lasting memorial to the Niagara Tunnel Tunnel Project highlighting the engineering feats of many contributing companies and the workers has been removed from the original plans. Unless Strabag, OPG, the city of Niagara Falls and the Niagara Parks Commission come to an agreement in the 11th hour, it would appear that the iconic cutter-head is destined to be returned to the Robbins Company for scrap. The largest single construction project in Niagara of this generation and any related tourism opportunities are destined to fade into the memories of those members that have planned, engineered and toiled to build the Niagara Tunnel. Apparently talk is cheap.

Strabag will have completed the Intake site on or before August 31st 2013. At that time the Intake area will be returned to OPG and the Niagara Parks.

The Health & Safety Components of Strabag, Hatch Mott-MacDonald and OPG accomplished a remarkable and admirable safety record during the construction of this massive tunnel. There were NO fatalities and few serious injuries recorded.  




* all depth (elevation) measurements are based upon a base of "above sea level" 




Niagara Tunnel Project Picture Gallery

for pictures please visit our Niagara Tunnel Picture Gallery





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Progress to Date/Current Location

Niagara Tunnel Breakthrough Ceremony



                                                             Ontario Power Generation

                                       Strabag SE

                                                                         Hatch Mott MacDonald Company


Associate Companies

                                                 Robbins Company

                                                                               Castonguay Blasting Company Limited

                                                                                                         McNally International Construction & Marine Company

                                                     Dufferin Construction

                                                                                  Morrison Hershfield Consulting Engineers

                                                          ILF Consulting Engineers

                                                                           Bermingham Construction Company


TBM Record Best

Strabag Organization Chart - Niagara Tunnel Project

Niagara Tunnel Project - Technical Facts

Picture Gallery

Niagara Tunnel Project - Vehicles, Carriers & Bridges

Niagara Tunnel Project - Chronology of Events

Voices From The Niagara Tunnel - A Living History


Geology Charts

                                         Rock of Ages Chart

                                                   Silurian Era Rock Chart

                                                                 Strata of the Niagara Gorge Chart

Niagara River & Water Diversion

Need For The New Niagara Tunnel

Ontario Power Generation - Quarterly Reports

Related Links





The TBM at 10,136 meters on April 3rd 2011 - 1.5 meters from breakout 











   The annual St. Barbara Ceremony held inside the Niagara Tunnel
The St. Barbara Ceremony held inside the Niagara Tunnel on December 4th 2008
The red arrow points to the size of an average man in stark comparison to the immense size of the tunnel






On Friday June 25th 2004, the Ontario Government announced that Ontario Power Generation has been given approval to proceed with the 3rd tunnel under the City of Niagara Falls.

The first two tunnels were built during the 1950's.

On Thursday August 18th 2005, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) announced the selection of the Austrian - STRABAG AG COMPANY to build the $600 million dollar hydro tunnel. The 10.4 kilometer (6.4 miles) water tunnel will run under the City of Niagara Falls from the upper Niagara River to the Sir Adam Beck Power Stations at Queenston at a maximum depth of 140 meters (459 feet). This third tunnel project is expected to be one of the largest tunnels built in North America.

The new tunnel will parallel the existing water tunnels but at a lower depth. The existing tunnels reach a maximum depth of 100 meters (328 feet).

On Wednesday September 14th 2005, the official ground breaking ceremonies were held to announce the beginning of this massive project.

Currently, Sir Adam Beck Power Group generates 2,080 megawatts. Approximately 1,800 cubic meters (63,566 cubic feet) of water per second from the existing twin tunnels and the hydro canal supply the Sir Adam Beck Stations. The new tunnel will divert an additional 500 cubic meters (17,657 cubic feet) of water per second.  

Strabag AG will also undertake remedial work on the former Ontario Power Station, the Ontario Power Station Water Intake Gate House and the former Toronto Power Station increasing the contract cost to $985 million dollars.

The project has now been projected to be completed in 2012 or 2013 from the initial date of 2009.

The course and depth for the new Niagara Tunnel had been predetermined many years ago as a result of the location of the original hydro canal (1921), the subsequent twin water tunnels (1955), the ancient buried St. David's Gorge and urban development.

The hydro canal was initially designed to consist of two canals leading from the Welland River to the Chippawa-Queenston Power Station (Sir Adam Beck #1). The course of the canal dissected the city in an area that was predominately rural at that time. After the first canal was built, the second canal plan was abandoned. The excess hydro land was returned to the city for urban development.

In the early 1950's, twin 14 meter (45 feet) diameter water tunnels were built under the city at a maximum depth of 330 feet nearest Chippawa and slowly rising before surfacing and terminating near Whirlpool Road into an open cut canal. Engineers determined that the existing tunnels and canal would have been too hazardous and expensive to continue as they passed underground through the glacial silt of the buried St. David's Gorge. In both instances the water is channeled on the surface as it crosses the buried gorge through concrete lined trapezoidal sections.

The corridor of land utilized for the location of the twin tunnels was previously owned by the hydro company and/or upon city land that was for the most part undeveloped.

Since the 1950's, the urban development of the City of Niagara Falls has grown exponentially so that today, little if any excess land was available.

History, geology and urban development has dictated the current location of the new Niagara Tunnel with little flexibility. The new tunnel would begin in an area of land near the forebay' of the Sir Adam Beck Power Generating Stations.

The Niagara Tunnel had no alternative than to bore steeply underground in order to tunnel underneath the ancient buried St. David's Gorge and to maintain a safe separation from the existing tunnels . The current path of the Niagara Tunnel is (for the most part) to follow the path of the existing twin tunnels.

The Niagara Tunnel is 14.4 meters (47.2 feet) in diameter at a maximum depth of 140 meters (459.3 feet). Both are unprecedented in size and depth in Niagara. The rock strata at the current depth of the tunnel boring machine is predominately Queenston Shale (mudstone). The reddish-purplish shale is fractured and has resulted in many roof-line rock falls slowing the boring operation. Although test boring samples were conducted in preparation for this project, none uncovered the vertical fracturing in the rock strata that the tunneling crews are currently experiencing.




A comparison of differences in size between the Niagara Tunnel Project and the Sir Adam Beck #2 Project


The TBM at 9986 meters













Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is owned by the Province of Ontario and is an electricity generation company whose principle business is the generation and sale of electricity in the Province of Ontario. OPG has approximately 11,300 employees. Power generation is produced by nuclear, hydroelectric, fossil and wind. Ontario Power Generation  produced 109 TWh or 70% of Ontario's electricity in 2005.



OPG Twittering from Niagara Tunnel

OPG Twittering from Niagara Tunnel






Strabag SE is one of Europe’s leading construction groups. With some 76,900 employees, Strabag generated a construction output volume of € 14.3 billion in the 2011 financial year.

Strabag SE is an Internationally world renown engineering and construction company based in Vienna, Austria. having extensive experience in road construction, structural engineering and other building fields including tunneling, civil engineering, bridge construction, power plant construction, rail construction, environmental technology and specialized underground engineering and project development. From core markets of Austria and Germany, Strabag SE is present via their numerous subsidiaries in the countries of Eastern and South-East Europe, in selected markets in Western Europe and in individual cases on other continents.

Strabag SE was established by Anton Lerchbaumer is 1835. The current CEO is Peter Haselsteiner. 

This company generated more than 80% of their output volume in markets in which they hold one of the top three market positions, such as Austria, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Romania and Switzerland. The company offers services under several brands, including STRABAG, Heilit+Woerner, Möbius and Züblin. The services span all areas of the construction industry and cover the entire construction value chain. Their vision is to become Europe’s leading pure construction company.






Hatch Mott MacDonald is an international award winning full service consulting engineering firm offering public and private clients multi-disciplined expertise and comprehensive capabilities in planning, environmental assessments, studies and analysis, design, procurement, construction engineering and inspection, project, program and construction management and facility maintenance and operations.

With more than a century of experience,  Hatch Mott MacDonald has approximately 10,000 employees world-wide providing the absolute best and highest engineering technical service.

Hatch Mott MacDonald is a North American company which has earned a reputation for technical excellence, innovation and client responsiveness on some of the most prominent and challenging projects. They have an extensive record of major accomplishments in the fields of transportation, tunnels, water conveyance, wastewater/CSO, environmental, gas pipelines, buildings and utilities.

Hatch Mott MacDonald's tunneling expertise began over 100 years ago, in the development of the London underground road and rail systems, and Toronto's subway system more than 50 years ago.

Peter Wickens is the current President and CEO.

Hatch Mott MacDonald and Hatch Acres are acting as Owner’s Representatives to Ontario Power Generation on the Niagara Tunnel Project. 

Through six decades, Hatch (which joined with long-time partner Mott MacDonald to create the infrastructure unit Hatch Mott MacDonald in North America in 1996) became prominent in North American transportation when it provided tunneling skills, know-how, design and management to several Toronto Transit Commission subway extensions, the CP Rail tunnel joining Windsor and Detroit, the Schreyer-Award winning CN Rail tunnel between Sarnia and Port Huron, tunnels for the Los Angeles Red Line subway, tunnels for BART in the San Francisco Bay area, tunnel-jacking for the massive Boston Central Artery project, and the recent Schreyer-winner dual-purpose (rail and auto traffic) Whittier Tunnel in Alaska.



View NTP TBM Locations in a larger map

Current Location of Niagara Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM)

Map Courtesy of Maria Mammoliti, B.A.Sc.
former Niagara Tunnel Project
Geotechnical Engineering Intern, Project Delivery Group














With more than 50 years on innovation and experience, The Robbins Company is the world's foremost developer and manufacturer of advanced underground construction machinery.

In 1952 James S. Robbins, the founder of the Robbins Company, built the first successful hard rock tunnel boring machine (TBM).  That success provided the foundation of innovation upon which Robbins continues to build. 

Over the past 50 years Robbins has been involved in hundreds of tunnel boring projects around the world.  Robbins is an international organization with four primary manufacturing facilities, seven international sales & service locations, and representatives worldwide. 

The largest hard rock TBM in the world (14.4 m in diameter) will be designed and manufactured by The Robbins Company.   Austria based Strabag AG, the contractor for the Niagara Tunnel Project, awarded the TBM order to The Robbins Company based in Solon, Ohio USA.  The Robbins tunnel boring machine (TBM) will be an open, hard rock, main beam TBM that utilizes the proven Robbins floating gripper design.  The TBM will be manufactured with a state-of-the-art ground support system.




Castonguay G.P of Sudbury, Canada has a  reputation, as a leader in the highly specialized field on drilling and blasting, has been strengthened by applying an innovative approach to each new project to ensure that work is done according to their clients' needs and to their full satisfaction. Strict procedures accompany the many stages of a project, such as visiting the site, surveying the area, drilling holes, installing seismographs, blasting designated areas, etc.

Castonguay G.P.'s expertise extends into sectors such as construction, quarries and mines. It is crucial to work with top-quality equipment, adapted to each work site as it allows them to work easily in risk zones and carry out high-precision work.

Each core employee plays an important role in the prosperity of the company by contributing their knowledge in research and development, manufacturing of specialized equipment and analyzing methods and planning procedures. They respond to public and private organizations for all drilling and blasting needs, and provide specialized training and conference presentations for businesses seeking knowledge in the field.

The team effort of Castonguay G.P. emphazing safety on the work site, was rewarded in year 2000 with the "Safety Award - Specialized Contractor, Over 20 000 Hours" granted by the Pipeline Contractors Association of Canada.

This award underscores the exceptional performance of a Canadian business in the area of safety and its effect on workplace accident rates.

Castonguay Blasting Company was awarded the contract to conduct blast design reviews, surface blasting, inspections and vibration monitoring of the Niagara Tunnel Project.




McNally International Incorporated and its group of companies was established in 1949, under the name S. McNally & Sons Limited.

Post-war house building was the main activity in the early years but soon changed to heavy civil engineering projects. Since the 1950's, the name "McNally" has become synonymous with difficult and demanding projects.

Throughout the years, McNally International has completed projects including roads, bridges, sewage treatment plants, sewers, and water mains. They are best known for their experience in underground tunnel work.

Tunnel construction is still one of the most exacting sectors of the construction industry. McNally International is recognized as Canada's leading Tunnel Contractor. They built tunnels for water, sewer, steam, subways, power transmission, traffic and pedestrians.

In the 1980's we started McNally Tunneling Corporation expanded operations in the United States. Based in Cleveland, Ohio, McNally Tunneling has completed projects in Birmingham, Cleveland, Houston, Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis and Columbus.

Construction like many industries has its own cycle of activities. One sector most acutely affected has been marine construction. In the 90's McNally purchased the marine assets of the Beaver Construction Group of Montreal, and started a new company called Beaver Marine Limited based in Nova Scotia. After a couple of years, McNally acquired the marine assets of Canadian Dredge and Dock, Pitts Engineering and MacNamara Marine all major players in the Construction industry in their day. 

Under the new McNally International flag these assets help make up one of the best equipped and manned construction fleets anywhere in Canada.

Together with Beaver, McNally Construction Group is capable of completing marine construction or dredging projects anywhere in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River or Eastern Canada.

McNally International Incorporated with its team of experienced and dedicated professionals is ready for the future.

McNally International - Marine Division is employed at the Niagara Tunnel Project in the preparation and construction of the Upper Niagara River intake.





Founded in 1912, Dufferin Construction is part of the St. Lawrence Cement Group, the largest cement producer in eastern Canada. Dufferin is a leader in its own right - Canada's biggest concrete paving company and one of Canada's largest heavy civil engineering contractors. Dufferin Construction has headquarters in Oakville Ontario. One of their many major projects included the building of Highway #407. Dufferin Constructions principal area of operation is Southern Ontario from Windsor to Ottawa.

Strabag has contracted Dufferin Construction for surface and concrete works including the construction of the Grout Gallery Tunnel at the intake site.





Morrison Hershfield is a multidisciplinary engineering and management firm. Engineering and design build services are provided to clients in the Transportation, Building, Life Sciences, Municipal, Utilities and Telecommunications sectors.

Morrison Hershfield Group Inc. is an employee owned organization. It is a corporate holding company with a mandate to operate national and international professional consulting engineering businesses through the Morrison Hershfield Group of Companies.

Morrison Hershfield has been employed in the design of the Niagara Tunnel Project.

At the 2008 Canadian Consulting Engineer Awards, Morrison Hershfield Limited won an award for the Water resources & energy production category for their work on the Intake works at the Niagara Tunnel Project in Niagara Falls. 





ILF Consulting Engineers was founded by Mr. P.Lässer, M.Sc., and Mr. A.H.Feizlmayr, M.Sc., in 1969. The abbreviation ILF is derived from the German company name "Ingenieurgemeinschaft Lässer-Feizlmayr".

On the basis of its well-tested know-how, ILF has continually extended its mission to all continents. Today, ILF ranks among the world's leading independent engineering consultants; particularly with regard to tunneling, underground construction and pipeline engineering.

ILF has been employed in the design of the Niagara Tunnel Project.





Established in 1897, Bermingham Foundation Solutions is an internationally renown company having works in more than 33 countries worldwide.

Bermingham Construction has been instrumental in building the infrastructure of Canada. The company worked on the famous Crow’s Nest Pass for the Canadian National Railway, as well as ports, docks, bridges and highway overpasses all over the country.

Today, the company is active in building foundations for bridges, condominium towers, power plants, water treatment plants, and docks mostly in Ontario and Eastern Canada.

Bermingham is an industry leader and innovator. It is known for developing the StatnamicTM Load test which is used extensively in Asia, North America and Europe.

Bermingham is introducing a revolutionary green technology to North America - geothermal foundations that produce heating and cooling.

Bermingham Construction Company has been employed in the building of cofferdams and steel sheet  pile-driving for the Niagara Tunnel Project.




Looking back from where we came
at 9986 meters





TBM Breakthrough into the grout Tunnel
The Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) breaks through into the Grout Tunnel on March 1st 2011











BEST MONTH: July 2009 for mining with a distance of 467.8 meters (1,534.7 feet)
BEST WEEK: July 12th-July 18th 2010 for mining with a distance of 153.2 meters (503 feet)
BEST DAY: May 1st 2010 for mining with a distance of 25.4 meters (88.33 feet)
BEST SHIFT: July 5th 2009 for a mining shift with a distance of 14 meters (46 feet)



Total Tunnel Length:
10,148 meters long
33,293.5 feet




The TBM reached the 5,000 meter milestone of the Niagara Tunnel Project at 14:08 hours (2:08 p.m.) on July 29th 2009

The TBM reached the 5,079 meter official halfway milestone of the Niagara Tunnel Project at 02:30 hours (2:30 a.m.) on August 4th 2009

The TBM intersected the Grout Tunnel at the 9,845 meter milestone of the Niagara Tunnel Project at 13:15 hours (1:15 p.m.) on March 1st 2011

The TBM reached the 10,143.026 meters milestone officially ending the mining phase of the Niagara Tunnel Project at 12:34 hours (12:34 p.m.) on May 13th 2011



























The Niagara River is 35 miles (59 km) long and runs in a north-south direction from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. It is an International Boundary between Canada and USA. The average flow of the river is estimated at 6,000 cubic meters per second (211,887 cubic feet per second).

The Niagara River Water Diversion Treaty between Canada and the United States concerning the uses of the waters of the Niagara River was signed on February 27th 1950 and came into force October 10th 1950. Its purpose is to preserve and enhance the scenic beauty of Niagara Falls and the Niagara River, while providing for the most beneficial use of the river waters.

Limitations on the amount of water diverted from the Niagara River for power generation purposes initially established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 were terminated and replaced by the 1950 treaty. Temporary diversion agreements for power generation in 1941 and 1948 agreements between the two Governments were rescinded.

The Niagara River Water Treaty of 1950 established new limitations of water diversion for power generation.

The amount of water available for diversion under the provisions of the latest treaty was specified to include:

1. the total outflow from Lake Erie through the Welland Canal

2. the total outflow from lake Erie through the Niagara River (including the Black Rock Canal)

3. not to include the amount of water used and necessary  for domestic/sanitary purposes and for the canals for navigation purposes.

In order to preserve the scenic beauty of the Falls, the Niagara River Water Diversion Treaty of 1950 stipulated that no water diversions for power generation would be allowed that would reduce the flow of water over Niagara Falls as follows:

no less than 100,000 cubic feet of water per second (cf/s) From April 1st to September 15th  (inclusive) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.

no less than 100,000 cubic feet of water per second (cf/s) from September 16th to October 31st (inclusive) between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

no less than 50,000 cubic feet of water per second (cf/s) from November 1st to March 31st (inclusive)


The specified rates of water flow over the Falls (listed above) are mandatory minimums. All water specified in this Treaty in excess of water reserved for scenic purposes may be diverted for power purposes.

On April 17th 1973, the governments agreed to use Eastern Daylight Savings Time as the basis of interpreting the hours specified by section IV of the treaty.

Under the terms of this treaty all excess waters available for water diversion for power generation shall be divided equally between Canada and the United States. An exception allows Canada to divert an additional 5,000 cubic feet of water per second from the Welland Canal or the Niagara River by a 1940 government agreement pertaining to the downstream use of waters from Canada's Long Lac and Ogoki water diversions into the Great Lakes. These water diversions are specifically excluded from the waters allocated in the Niagara River Water Diversion Treaty of 1950.

The Niagara River Water Diversion Treaty came into force upon the date of the exchange of ratifications [Oct. 10, 1950] and continues in force for a period of fifty (50) years and thereafter until one (1) year from the day on which either party shall give notice to the other party of its intention of terminating the Treaty.









The 1950 Treaty stipulated: "Until such time as there are facilities in the territory of one party to use its full share of the diversions of water for power purposes agreed upon in this Treaty, the other party may use the portion of that share for the use of which facilities are not available".

In order to best utilize the water available for diversion, the New York State Power Authority and Ontario Power Generation signed an agreement on January 19th 1965 to share generation capacity. Both power companies have rented available power generating capacity from each other to maximize utilization of their respective shares of water available for power production. Original ownership of the water shares has been maintained. This agreement allows each company to minimize the costs of equipment outages and to provide for the handling of ice problems. In simple terms, when Ontario Power Generation (OPG) - Sir Adam Beck Power Stations (Canada) has surplus water shares available for diversion and no extra generation capacity, they rent the generation capacity available at New York State Power Authority (NYSPA) - Robert Moses Power Station for power generation. The power generated is for the use of Ontario Power Generation. This agreement is reciprocal and NYSPA does the same with their surplus water share.

The power companies of both countries continue to upgrade their power generators to increase power capacity however their respective abilities to draw water are limited by not only the terms of this treaty but their capacity to draw available waters (refer below).



Power Station Name

Cubic Feet Per Second

Robert Moses Generating Station (NYSPA)


Sir Adam Beck Generating Stations (OPG)


DeCew Falls Generating Station (OPG)


Canadian Niagara Power (Fortis)- Rankine Generating Station - not producing



Ontario Power Generation has a combined water drawing capacity of 72,400 cubic feet per second (includes DeCew Falls Generating Station). At present, New York State Power Authority - Robert Moses Generating Station has a water drawing advantage of approximately 36,600 cubic feet per second.

There are occasions when power generation is reduced below actual capacity at times of low water flow rates in order to maintain the treaty minimal flow over the Falls.

There are occasions when the amount of water in the Niagara River available for diversion exceeds the ability of the power stations to draw this excess. Ontario Power Generation and the Ontario Government are currently studying methods upon which to increase their water share drawing capacity in order to increase power generation capacity.


"...The two countries share the water for power production as per Article VI.  This amount, of course, depends on the river flow which changes constantly.  When the level of Lake Erie, and its corresponding outflow, is low, there may not be sufficient water available for maximum power generation.....in either country.  On the other hand, when the opposite is true i.e. high lake levels and river flows the amount of water available for power production exceeds generation/diversion capacity and water will be "spilled" over the Falls (in other words in amounts greater than the required Falls flow minimum). 

A program of unit upgrades at both Ontario Power Generation's Sir Adam Beck and the New York Power Authority's Robert Moses Niagara Power Project, begun in the 1990s and due for completion in the next couple of years has been increasing this generation/discharge capacity.  While the tunnels on the U.S. side are capable of handling their diversions, in all but the most extreme case (short term storm events which can result in very high flow conditions), a new OPG tunnel or tunnels and additional generating station would increase the frequency of maximum water diversion for power generation on the Canadian side..."

Len Falkiner, Secretary, International Niagara Board of Control (IJC)





cubic meters/second
(cubic feet/second)


Sir Adam Beck #1 GS 1922

625 cm/s
 (22,072.5 c/ft/s)

487 2,700
Sir Adam Beck #2 GS 1955 1,200 cm/s
 (42,377.4 c/ft/s)
1,472 9,200
Sir Adam Beck Pump GS 1958 n/a 122 -100
CURRENT TOTALS   1,825 cm/s
(64,448.9 c/ft/s)
2,081 11,800
Niagara Tunnel Project 2009 500 cm/s
 (17,657.2 c/ft/s)
N/A 1,600
FUTURE TOTALS   2,325 cm/s
 (82,106.2 c/ft/s)
2,081 13,400

The megawatt (symbol: MW) is a unit for measuring power equal to one million (106) watts.
The gigawatt (symbol: GW) is a unit for measuring power equal to one billion (109) watts.










Strabag Organization Chart - Niagara Tunnel Project

Niagara Tunnel Project - Technical Facts

Picture Gallery

Niagara Tunnel Project - Vehicles, Carriers & Bridges

Niagara Tunnel Project - Chronology of Events

Ontario Power Generation - Quarterly Reports



To learn more about the Niagara Tunnel project visit following educational web sites:


 Ontario Power Generation Niagara Tunnel Project

Strabag Company's Niagara Tunnel Project

The History of Power

Niagara River Water Diversion