AN engineer from Baltimore is part of an Irish crew doing ‘ground-breaking’ work in America.
Cillian Cotter (pictured above) the son of Kieran and Brigid Cotter of Baltimore, is working with the firm of Ward & Burke on a tunnelling project in Buffalo, New York.
The team will be digging down about 53ft and tunnelling underwater to provide power to Buffalo’s waterfront as part of an m project.
Cillian explained that an estimated 8,000 tonnes of soil and limestone will be excavated during the tunnelling process using a machine that operates like a coffee grinder.
The cylinder-shaped machine was shipped over from Ireland to bore the 422ft-long tunnel, which measures about 6ft in diameter, and will be laid about 18ft below the riverbed.
Although Cillian has worked on many tunnelling projects since he emigrated to Canada to work with Ward & Burke four years ago, he said: ‘This project is going to be slightly more challenging because the rock is very hard, almost granite-like.’ The remote-controlled machine, which measures 14ft and weighs 29 tonnes, is capable of finishing the job in about 20 days.
National Grid, the company that engaged the Irish crew, confirmed it has used similar machines on overseas projects but never before in the US.
Cillian was educated at Rath National School and St Fachtna’s De La Salle in Skibbereen and qualified as a civil engineer from UCC in 2014. This month, he will start work on a new project in Vancouver.