There is light at the end of the tunnel as The City of Calgary’s Airport Trail Tunnel is nearing completion and celebrating its opening this weekend.
The 620-metre long tunnel will officially open to traffic on Sunday, May 25 at 5:00 a.m.
But before the vehicles begin rolling down the new roadway, a Grand Opening event is being planned for Saturday, May 24 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The official program will take place between 12 noon – 12:30 p.m. on a stage platform inside the tunnel and will include Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Ward 3 Councillor Jim Stevenson, Dr. Neil Brown, Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill MLA and Calgary Airport Authority Board Chair, David Swanson.
Transportation General Manager Mac Logan will as the Emcee for the program.
The Grand Opening will also include a special Show and Shine event to reflect the theme, Celebrating motor vehicle transportation – past and present. Approximately 400 vehicles are registered and will be on display inside the north tunnel.
There will also be vehicle displays from Calgary Police Service, Calgary Fire Department, Calgary Transit, Roads, Calgary Airport Authority, PCL, Standard General, Inland Concrete, and UPS.
Live music and roving entertainers will help to round out the celebration.
There is no public parking at the tunnel for the Opening event. Calgarians will need to park at the McKnight-Westwinds LRT parking lot, or ride the Ctrain to the McKnight-W
estwinds station, and take the Transit shuttle bus to the Airport Trail tunnel. The first shuttle bus will leave McKnight-Westwinds at approximately 10:45 a.m.
After City Council approved the construction of the project in February 2011 and an agreement was reached with the Calgary Airport Authority, excavation on the tunnel began in July of that year.
The concrete pour of the first of 50 sections of tunnel walls and roof took place in February 2012 and the last section was completed in October 2012.
This project extends Airport Trail from Barlow Trail to 36 Street N.E. as a six-lane roadway, and included widening Airport Trail between Deerfoot Trail and Barlow Trail from four to six lanes.
The overall budget for this project is $294.8 million.