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Tunnel breakthrough announced at Niagara Tunnel Project in Canada

The world's largest hard rock boring machine has successfully broken through at the Niagara Tunnel Project, Ontario Power Generation announced.

The tunnel project will divert water from the Niagara River and carry it to the Niagara Falls hydroelectric generating stations.

A tunnel boring machine dubbed 'Big Becky' was used to dig a10-kilometer tunnel under the city of Niagara Falls. The tunnel project will allow Ontario Power Generation to increase output at the nearly 2,000-MW Sir Adam Beck hydroelectric complex by about 1.6 billion kWh.

The 'Big Becky' boring machine is 150 meters long and weighs about 4,000 tons. The tunnel is as high as a four-story building.

Work on the Niagara Tunnel Project is expected to be completed in 2013. Previous reports estimated the project cost at C$1.6 billion (US$1.42 billion).

Strabag is the design / build contractor on the Niagara Tunnel Project. The boring machine was supplied by Robbins.

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