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Calgary’s Airport Trail Tunnel – a Project Management Success Story


The Airport Trail Tunnel (ATT) is a 620-metre (m)-long, two-cell roadway tunnel constructed underneath the Calgary International Airport’s new runway and three taxiways that are currently under construction. Part of a 1.3-kilometre (km) section of roadway being constructed to provide better network connectivity around the airport, the ATT has three lanes in each direction. The traffic forecast at the 20-year horizon estimates a volume of 27,000 vehicles per day. The ATT project was approved by The City of Calgary City Council (the Council) on February 7, 2011.
The ATT was designed to meet the National Fire Prevention Association’s (NFPA) Code 502, “Standard for Road Tunnels, Bridges, and Other Limited Access Highways.” As a result, many ancillary systems are required to support fire occupant safety. These include smoke and noxious gas ventilation using 32 jet fans, a stormwater pumping station and reservoir, a fire alarm system with heat and smoke detection, a dry stand pipe system to assist in fire-fighting, emergency radio signal boosting, tunnel illumination, and power redundancy using power supplied from both ends of the ATT.
Because the project was approved less than 19 months before significant portions needed to be installed and backfilled for construction of the runway above the ATT, the schedule was a primary focus for the work. About half of the tunnel was built and backfilled in less than 8 months to meet this schedule. The remaining structure was completed in the 4 months that followed, with turnover of about 90 percent of the ATT to the runway project 2 months after that.
To facilitate the accelerated schedule, the work was issued for tender in pieces as the design was brought to a stage where it could be tendered. Since a total of 15 major tender packages were tendered, each with as many subcontracts in them, management of the project required close attention to the overlaps and omissions among the scopes of work in these tender packages.
This paper, “Calgary’s Airport Trail Tunnel – a Project Management Success Story,” by Andrew Boucher, Senior Project Manager, CH2M HILL and Joost Bolderheij, Principal Manager, CH2M HILL, will discuss the design and construction of the ATT, as well as the project management challenges encountered.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Measuring Congestion
Boucher, A.
Bolderheij, J.
Transportation planning