This paper presents the results of engineering geological investigations and tunnel support design studies, carried out at the Sulakyurt dam site, northeast of Ankara, Turkey. The Sulakyurt dam will be used for flow control and water storage for irrigation projects. Studies were carried out both in the field and the laboratory. Field studies include engineering geological mapping, intensive discontinuity surveying, core drilling and sampling for laboratory testing. The diversion tunnel will be driven in rock mass, consisting of granite and diorite. Empirical, analytical and numerical methods were combined for safe tunnel design. Rock mass rating (RMR), Rock mass quality (Q) and Geological strength index (GSI) systems were used for empirical rock mass quality determination, site characterization and support design. The convergence-confinement method was used as analytical method and software called Phase2, a 2D finite element program, was utilized as numerical method. According to the results acquired from the empirical, analytical and numerical methods, tunnel stability problems were expected in both granite and diorite rock masses. The support system, suggested by empirical methods, was applied and the performance of suggested support system was evaluated by means of numerical modelling. It was concluded that the suggested support systems were adequate, since after applying the suggested support system to granite and diorite, tunnel deformation and the yielded elements around the tunnel decreased significantly. Thus, it is suggested that for more reliable support design empirical, numerical and analytical methods should be combined. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.