Performance prediction of the roadheaders is one of the main subjects in determining the economics of the underground excavation projects. During the last decades, researchers have focused on developing performance prediction models for roadheaders. In the first stage of this study, the performance of a roadheader used in Kucuksu sewage tunnel (Istanbul) was recorded in detail and the instantaneous cutting rate (ICR) of the machine was determined. The uniaxial compressive strength (UCS) and rock quality designation (RQD) are used as input parameters in previously developed empirical models in order to point out the efficiency of these models, and the relationships between measured and predicted ICR for different encountered formations. In the second stage of the study, Artificial Neural Network (ANN) technique is used for predicting of the ICR of the roadheader. A data set including UCS, RQD, and measured ICR are established. It is traced that a neural network with two inputs (RQD and UCS) and one hidden layer can be sufficient for the estimation of ICR. In addition, it is determined that increase in number of neurons in hidden layer has positive optimizing on the performance of the ANN and a hidden layer larger than 10 neurons does not have a significant effect on optimizing the performance of the neural network. Furthermore, probability of memorizing is being recognized in this situation. Based on this study, it is concluded that the prediction capacity of ANN is better than the empirical models developed previously. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.