NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO - We're getting out first look at a major power project across the border that's completely off limits and out of view of the public.
It was a unique opportunity for our camera to go inside a massive tunnel that lies hundreds of feet below Niagara Falls.
Bill McKinlay of the Ontario Power Generation said, "We're just at the entrance to the tunnel, and this is actually where the water's gonna come out when the tunnel's complete."
We hopped on board a bus to take us through a brand new tunnel that lies under Niagara Falls, Ontario. For the past five years, workers have been drilling it, a total of six miles from a Canadian Power station near the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge to an intake just above the Falls.
"It's an amazing project and the whole purpose of it is to bring more water to the Sir Adam Beck Generation Station to generate clean renewable hydro-electricity for 100 years or more," said McKinlay.
The water that goes over the Falls is shared by the U.S. and Canada.
McKinlay explained, "Right now the U.S. is using their full allotment of the water. We're not using our full allotment and the tunnel will allow us to use just about our full allotment of water."
The water would then flow from just above the Falls through the six-mile tunnel. The largest hard rock drilling machine in the world named "Big Becky" is almost finished. Ontario Power Generation is now only about 100 yards away from coming out at the intake's above the Falls. For five years the drilled out rock has been sent back through and out of the tunnel on a huge conveyor belt.
Rick Everdell of Ontario Power Generation said, "This rock here is limestone under the Niagara River. It's about 400 million years old and nobody's ever seen it before."
The entire project costs about $1.6 billion. It should be finished in about two years, and provide the water to generate enough electricity to power an additional 70,000 Canadian homes.
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