On June 7th 1956 at 5:00 p.m., the Schoellkopf Power Station sustained a catastrophic collapse.
To replace the Schoellkopf Power Station, the New York State Power Authority devoted itself to the construction of a new power station with a giant reservoir to be located further downstream near Lewiston. This power plant was estimated to cost $800 million dollars and took 3 years to build.
Robert Moses was the head of the New York Power Authority and would oversee the building of this new plant. Moses’ first step was to establish that the construction and operation of the Niagara Power Project would come under the ownership of the New York State Power Authority.
In addition this power station, the New York State Power Authority planned to construct a 29 kilometre parkway, which included an interchange to the Queenston – Lewiston Bridge. They also planned on the development of the Whirlpool State Park and Devil’s Hole State Park along this parkway.
In August of 1957, the U.S. Congress approved the building of the Niagara Power Project with the capacity to produce 2.4 million kilowatts.
Land for the reservoir was legally taken by the government from the Tuscarora Indians. The New York State Power Authority wanted to seize 1,350 acres of the 6,300 acre Indian Reservation. The Tuscarora Indians fought this expropriation to the United States Supreme Court.
On March 7th 1960, the New York Power Authority won a Supreme Court decision for the right to take 550 acres of the Tuscarora Reservation at a cost of $1,500 per acre.
Construction began on March 18th 1957. By the end of the construction 10.97 million cubic metres of rock was excavated from the land. The main structure of the power station was 561 metres long by 118 metres high by 177 metres wide.
During the construction, twenty men died in construction related accidents. Two giant 24,000 kilogram Euclid trucks each valued at $47,000 each fell into the river below.
The Niagara Power Project was renamed the Robert Moses Power Generating Station after its builder, Robert Moses.
The Robert Moses Niagara Hydro-Electric Power Station of the New York State Power Authority was opened in January 28th 1961 and is the largest of the Niagara generating stations.
Water for this power plant is drawn from the Niagara River 4 kilometres above the Falls along the American shoreline. 2.27 million Litres of water per second are drawn through two – 213 metre long intakes located below water level. Twin buried conduits, 14 metres wide and 20 metres high, lead from the intake and run 6 kilometres to the forebay. Each conduit has a 400,000 kilogram vertical lift gate and each is housed in a structure 15 metres wide and 20 metres high.
From the forebay water enters the turbines through penstocks. Each of these penstocks is140 metres long and 8 metres in diameter. Water is discharged directly into the Niagara River after passing through the turbines.
There are thirteen turbines rated at 200,000 horsepower each. Capacity of power output is rated at 2,300 megawatts. A 1,900 acre water reservoir is utilized to feed the turbines during the daytime holds 22 billion gallons of water.
Robert Moses retired from the New York State Power Authority in 1962 when he was 73 years old.