To build Mexico’s 750-MW La Yesca hydroelectric project, the construction consortium first had to divert the Santiago River through a pair of 14-meter-square tunnels, one 830 m long and the other and 870 m. The $767-million concrete-faced rock-fill dam, with a 220-m-high crest and a length of 628 m, is on schedule for completion in 2012, according to Mexico’s largest contractor, Ingenieros Civiles Asociados, which is leading the project’s construction consortium.

Work on the project—located 105 km northeast of Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco State in western Mexico—began in 2007. The workforce peaked at 5,000 in April 2011. Ingetec S.A., Bogota, Colombia, contributed design work, along with the engineering department of the public owner, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). The first turbine of two 375-MW turbines, supplied by Moscow-based JSC Power Machines, is expected to begin producing power in January; the second in April, according to CFE.

Upon completion, La Yesca will be the second-highest dam in Mexico. The highest, at 261 m, is the Manuel Moreno Torres Dam, which is also the highest dam in North America.