Engineering geological properties and support design of a planned diversion tunnel at Guledar dam site, which was located at the North of Ankara, Turkey were studied in this article. The main purpose of the construction of the planned tunnel is to regulate, drainage and to provide water for irrigation purposes. The diversion tunnel runs mainly through formations of limestone, sandstone and diabase. Rock masses at the site were characterized using Rock Mass Rating (RMR), Rock Mass Quality (Q), Rock Mass Index (RMi) and Geological Strength Index (GSI). RMR, Q, RMi and GSI were determined by using field data and mechanical proper-ties of intact rock samples, measured in the laboratory. Support requirements for the planned diversion tunnel were determined accordingly in terms of the rock mass classification systems. Recommended support systems by empirical methods were also analyzed using 2D Finite Element method. Calculated parameters based on empirical methods were used as input parameters in the finite element models. The results from both methods were compared with each other. This comparison suggests that more reliable support design could be achieved by using the finite element method together with the empirical methods. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.