Project: Airport Trail Tunnel
Cost: $295 million
Location: Calgary, Alta.
Project Delivery Method: Construction management
contractor: PCl Constructors inc.
Engineers: CH2M Hill (structural), Associated Engineering Alberta ltd. (mechanical)
Underpass and on budget
It is hard to grasp the force of the flood waters that swept down Cougar Creek outside Canmore, Alta., last June 20. Usually little more than a trickle, the creek overflowed its banks with so much power and debris—trees and boulders—that homes were destroyed and about a kilometre of the Trans-Canada Highway between the Cougar Creek crossing and the Highway 1/1A Interchange was wiped out.
The tunnel is a 620-metre-long, 35-metre-wide underpass extending Airport Trail from Barlow Trail to 36 Street NE. Construction of the cast-in-place twin Underpass and on budget cell underpass, which can accommodate not
only vehicle traffic but C-Trains, occurred at the same time as the construction of a runway (set to open in 2014) overhead. The underpass had to be built strong enough to handle the weight of the planes that will use
With construction progressing 24 hours per day, more than 60,000 cubic metres of concrete was placed in 12 months, allowing the City of Calgary to meet all the tunnel turnover dates required by the Calgary Airport Authority. The city turned over the last section, the area underneath the west perimeter road, last July 31. And, in mid-October, the most recent milestone occurred—the underpass opened to traffic.
This is not the first award the $295-million project, which met budget, has won. It also received top honours at the 2013 American Concrete Institute (Alberta Chapter) Awards of Excellence in the civil category.
The project is one of many improvements at the airport, including the new runway, an expanded international terminal and a new control tower. Calgary International Airport is Canada's fourth busiest in passenger numbers, with 13.6 million passengers in 2012.