It was an exciting day as the crowds gathered to see the grand opening of the Airport Trail tunnel on Saturday. About 5,000 Calgarians enjoyed the festivities that celebrated the completion of the biggest Calgary road infrastructure project.
The tunnel was officially opened to traffic at 5:00 AM on Sunday. It runs below the new runway at the Calgary International Airport between Barlow Trail and 36 St. N.E. There are six lanes of traffic open to the public and the ceremony recognized the hard work that was put in to make it all happen. The project establishes an east to west link in Calgary and will benefit many residents that live in the eastern quadrant of the city.
The festivities on Saturday included a speech from Mayor Nenshi and other dignitaries, live entertainment and a Show N’ Shine of rare and classic vehicles. Of course, the main showstopper was the 620 m tunnel itself.
The project ended up costing $204 million and during the process of building the tunnel there was a lot of excavation going on. More than 600,000 cubic metres of rock and earth had to be excavated to make room for the 58,000 cubic metres of concrete and 12,000 tons of reinforcing steel that was needed.
Fortunately, the project was completed on time and on budget. It will provide both short-term and long-term benefits to people that live in the city now and to future residents that decide to make Calgary their home. The next time you're near the airport, make sure that you take some time to check it out. It was a massive undertaking and it's definitely worth viewing.