Friday 13th has been set as the final deadline for a decision to be made on whether an airport tunnel scheme finally gets the go ahead after months of negotiations between the Calgary Airport Authority and Calgary city officials.
The scheme has proved to be a fairly contentious subject on both sides and, as yet, they have failed to come to any kind of resolution. The biggest bone of contention is whether the city of Calgary is willing to spend $295 million to construct an extension to the Airport Trail beneath a new runway, or indeed how they should even go about the project.
The Calgary Airport Authority also wants city officials to commit to spending more money on various traffic interchanges along the Airport Trail when the levels of road traffic increase.
However, many of the city’s aldermen are unconvinced that the city needs the new Airport Trail tunnel and some have commented that the Calgary Airport Authority was deliberately allowing the negotiations to drag on indefinitely. Those who are in favour of going ahead with the airport tunnel project believe that the scheme is vital for improving local traffic access to the airport from the northeast road network, but others think that the scheme is far too expensive and that the city cannot afford such a financial outlay.
Plans for an airport tunnel have been in the pipeline for a long time, but up until recently city officials had refused to commit any funds to the project, and it was not until construction work was already underway that Mayor Nenshi managed to secure a funding endorsement in February.
Whether the airport tunnel project is finally given the go-ahead remains to be seen, but there will be many people eagerly awaiting the final decision on the scheme next Monday.
Contractors working on the airport link tunnel at Brisbane airport have employed an extra 1200 workers on top of the 3000 originally planned for in a last ditch attempt to make sure the tunnelling project is completed on schedule.
As well as the massive increase in the workforce employed on the $4.2 billion tunnelling project, the contractor has also been hit with extensive cost overruns. Original estimates for the amount of steel and concrete required for the complex tunnelling project were vastly underestimated and this soon sent costs spiralling.
As a result of the budget problems experienced during the airport link tunnel project, the contractor, Leighton Holdings, has already announced it would make a loss of $430 million despite the fact it had previously predicted a $407 million pre-tax profit. But despite the dire loss predictions, the Thiess & John Holland joint venture handling construction work on site has assured the city that the Brisbane Airport link will be delivered on time as originally planned. And if they fail to meet their obligations, Leighton Holdings will face the prospect of liquidated damages.
According to the contractor, there are currently around one thousand workers toiling away underground and this number is expected to rise to around two thousand once the mechanical and electrical fit out works begin, including between five and six hundred electricians.
The Brisbane Airport Link tunnel is expected to be fully operational by June 30 in 2012. Once the tunnel is open for business, Brisbaneconnections will employ between 120 and 140 people and a recruitment drive will begin closer to the tunnel opening date. It is hoped that as many people as possible will choose to use the new airport link tunnel once it is open to the public.