City's growth sparks National Grid tunnel project under the Buffalo River

May 1, 2018

A major infrastructure upgrade is taking place under the Buffalo River.

The boring machine at work under the Buffalo River is nearly 14 feet long and it weighs 29 tons.
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

National Grid is working on an $11 million microtunnel to connect Ohio Street, in Buffalo's Old First Ward, with a site across the river on Ganson Street.

National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa says all of the trends show that the electric load will continue to grow as the city moves forward with its development plans.

National Grid Regional President Ken Kujawa
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

"Whether it's on Ohio Street, Riverbend, or the Outer Harbor, we just want to be ready for it. We're not saying that there's any one particular project that we're looking to serve today. But we just need to make sure that when that time comes we're ready for that growth," Kujawa said.

The boring machine was lowered, about 50 feet, to the bottom of this recently completed shaft, off Ohio Street, to begin work, Tuesday.
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

When complete, the tunnel will be 6 feet in diameter and 42 -feet long. It will be reinforced with concrete and carry a variety of high-voltage lines that, Kujawa says, could potentially power everything from residential units to large industrial sites.

The boring machine is expected to reach the Ganson Street site, across the Buffalo River, in about 20 days. The project is slated for completion in July.