Drones used to examine inside of historic Sutro Tunnel

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 3:12 PM PST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DAYTON, Nev. (KOLO) - We live in an age where drones can go where people cannot.

“Today our goal is to use the drones to map out the tunnel and find out what we have to do to re-open it,” said Sutro Tunnel Project Manager Chris Pattison.

EROCK and Associates were brought in to use their drones to get a look inside the Sutro Tunnel, which goes nearly 4 miles underground from Dayton to the mines under Virginia City.

“Adolph Sutro came to Virginia City and noticed they were having flooding issues,” Pattison explained. “He wanted to do what the other mines across Europe were doing and build drainage.”

Commissioned in 1869, the tunnel wasn’t finished until 1878 – missing a large portion of the Comstock lode’s prime years. But even though the mining declined over the years, the tunnel remained in use until World War II.

“People were able to use this tunnel of travel to Virginia City, bring ore in and out, bring miners in and out, and drain the water,” Pattison detailed.

The tunnel is caved in just past the entrance, but the drone flights show after that initial cave in its pretty open, but just how far it remains open is still unclear.

Ultimately the goal is to open both the tunnel and the 26 acre site around it as a historical tourist attraction.

Copyright 2022 KOLO. All rights reserved.