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Officials weighing fix for Hetch Hetchy tunnel

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- San Francisco's public utilities commission is deciding whether to rebuild or repair a key tunnel in the Hetch Hetchy water system that it says is in danger of collapse.

San Francisco has long postponed work on the 89-year-old Mountain Tunnel. But Steve Ritchie, with the utilities commission, tells the San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/VnjGiY) its failure would be catastrophic for the region's water supply, cutting flow by about a quarter.

The commission is now hiring outside consultants to help it decide which way to go on fixing the tunnel. A completely new tunnel would cost up to $630 million.

Repairing the existing tunnel would cost considerably less, but still exceed $100 million.

The Hetch Hetchy system supplies water to about 2.6 million Bay Area residences and businesses.

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Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com

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