National Grid tunnels under Buffalo River
USA, Buffalo: As part of an $11 M project, National Grid built a tunnel beneath the Buffalo River to modernize and improve electricity infrastructure.
In 2018, as part of an ongoing commitment to modernize and improve energy infrastructure and better serve customers, National Grid undertook the project on Ohio Street in Buffalo, building a 128 m (422 ft) tunnel beneath the Buffalo River. This was the first such project in company history.
The $11 M construction project, which began in November 2017 and was completed the following July, helped the company address future electricity needs.
“This was an exciting project for National Grid,” said National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa, who added that there has been so much new construction, growth and expansion in this part of the city in recent years.
When representatives from Germany-based Herrenknecht AG provided details about their tunnel boring machine, they compared the remote-controlled, cylindrical slurry machine to a coffee grinder, a comparison the utility officials found apt. The machine was owned by Ward & Burke Construction, Ltd., which is based in Ireland.
However, carving the tunnel was easier said than done. Ward & Burke engineer Cillian Cotter said that an additional challenge presented itself, as the local formation of limestone was “close enough to the strength of granite, extremely hard rock.”
After tunnel cutting work was done, workers removed the boring equipment and added conduits to the newly drilled tunnel. Workers then strung the tunnel with electricity cables and filled and sealed with giant manholes both sides of the 16 m (53 ft) deep shafts under the river.
Source: T&D World