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All images via NYC Water Flickr: NYC Department of Environmental Protection

Significant headway is being made on the $1 billion project to fix the Delaware Aqueduct, one of the world’s longest tunnels that carries roughly half of New York City’s total water supply (1.3 billion gallons per day). On Monday night, a $30 million tunnel-boring machine, called Nora, embarked what will be a 20-month long endeavor to bore a 22-foot wide and 2.5-mile long tunnel between Newburgh and Wappinger, which will be located 600 feet beneath the Hudson River

Constructed between 1939 and 1945, the 85-mile and 13.5 feet wide Delaware Aqueduct sources its water from the Rondout Reservoir. However, two leaks have been releasing between 10 and 36 million gallons of water per day for the last 25 years, which has contaminated the drinking water supply in some areas. The $1 billion project to fix the problem was launched in 2013, with anticipated completion in 2022.


To prepare for the lofty task, Kiewit-Shea of Omaha, Nebraska, the city’s contractor, and The Robbins Company of Solon, Ohio, which manufactured Nora, lowered 14 pieces of the machine into a shaft in Newburgh, and then reassembled them.

Named after Nora Stanton Blatch Barney, the first woman in the United States to earn a college degree in engineering, Nora measures 21.5 feet in diameter, 42.6 feet long and weighs 1,100 tons. She will work 24 hours a day, 6 days a week, according to Recordonline.com. Following that, NYC’s Department of Environmental Protection will connect the tunnel (which will act as a bypass) to the aqueduct and reclaim the lost water.

Next, check 7 Secret NYC Tunnels You Probably Haven’t Heard Of.

 Delaware Aqueduct

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