During Barnard’s first winter on the Kemano T2 Tunnel Project Upstream Works, more than 50 ft. of snow fell at the tunnel portal, adding to the challenge of the work.

At the Kemano Hydroelectric Generating Station, a second tunnel has been planned since the original project was built in 1954. Construction for the 16-km-long Kemano Tunnel 2 (T2) began in the early 1990s; the final phase of the project involved excavation of 7.6 km of new tunnel and refurbishment of an existing 8.4-km tunnel section. In July 2020, Barnard Constructors of Canada, LP was awarded the Upstream Works portion of the project. Barnard personnel mobilized within two weeks to the remote project site, which was accessible only by boat, barge or helicopter from Kitimat, British Columbia. Barnard constructed the remaining 4 km of hard rock tunnel to complete the 7.6-km T2. The tunnel was excavated by a 6.56-diameter Herrenknecht single-shield hard rock TBM and was supported with precast concrete tunnel lining. The new tunnel provides reliable hydroelectric power to Rio Tinto’s recently modernized aluminum smelter (located 74 km northeast of the project in Kitimat) and feeds back into BC Hydro’s grid.


Location: 74 km southwest of Kitimat, British Columbia

Owner: Rio Tinto

Engineer: Hatch Ltd.

Contract Type: Time & Material; Cost Plus

Status: Complete


  • 2022 Tunnel Business Magazine Tunnel Achievement Award Winner
  • 2020 Mining Magazine Safety Award Winner
  • TBM Breakthrough into existing 1950’s T2 Stub Tunnel
  • 1,300-metric-tonne TBM disassembled and removed in 14 rail-mounted loads
  • 1,700 m3 of grout injected in 2,000 locations
  • Remote camp job in a heavy snowfall area

4 km of hard rock tunnel excavated

2,699 pre-cast concrete tunnel lining rings installed

1.5 km of railroad replaced