Basic roadwork is under way and the first tender call will be issued within weeks for construction of Quebec’s largest hydroelectric development in more than a decade. The $4.3-billion, 883-MW project is an expansion of the James Bay hydroelectric development in northwestern Quebec. It includes two new powerhouses—758-MW Eastmain 1-A and 120-MW La Sarcelle—and a diversion structure on land belonging to the Cree Tribe of First Nations. The project is scheduled to begin generating power by the end of 2009 and to be fully operational by 2012. Construction includes a 3-kilometer-long tunnel to create a 350-km-long diversion of the river and the flooding of about 200 sq km. Provincial utility Hydro-Quebec is the designer and joint project manager with the James Bay Development Corp., both of Montreal. Cree leaders support the project as part of a 2002 agreement. But three Cree communities most directly affected voted against the project and some environmental organizations fear it will generate an increase in mercury levels in fish.