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Lead underground lab project ahead of schedule

LEAD (AP) -- A $25 million project to replace structural steel supports at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead is ahead of schedule.

The Rapid City Journal reports that the Ross Shaft project started 13 months ago and has used $10 million and 6,200 rock bolts so far.

Laboratory director Mike Headley says the effort is significant because the shaft allows underground material to be excavated and will be used to transport workers.

Project Manager William McElroy says crews are replacing steel H-beams dating to the shaft's opening in 1934 with a lighter, stronger and more durable tubular steel framework.

The refurbished Ross Shaft is expected to be done in June 2017.