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Airport Trail Tunnel

The 620-metre Airport Trail tunnel under the new runway at the Calgary International Airport opened to traffic on May 25, 201.

The new tunnel extends Airport Trail from Barlow Trail to 36 Street N.E. as a six-lane roadway, and also included widening Airport Trail between Deerfoot Trail and Barlow Trail from four to six lanes.

The City celebrated the completion of the Airport Trail tunnel with a public opening event on May 24 to recognize the hard work, commitment and cooperation of many people who delivered this piece of vital infrastructure.


Left: Mayor Naheed Nenshi officially opened the Airport Trail Tunnel
Right: Thousands of Calgarians attended the Opening to check out the tunnel and the Show & Shine

The Airport Trail tunnel has already received awards for its construction, including an award from the Alberta Construction magazine for being the top project in 2013 in the Civil category (over $50 million). The tunnel was also one of three City of Calgary projects to receive 2013 Award of Excellence honours from the 2013 American Concrete Institute (Alberta Chapter), and was a finalist for Project of the Year at the Project Management Institute (Southern Alberta Chapter).

Tunnel interesting facts

  • The tunnel is 620 metres, 36 metres wide and has a vehicle clearance of 5.3 metres.
  • During tunnel construction over 600,000 cubic metres of earth and rock was excavated.
  • Over 2.5 kilometres of water and storm water utilities have been installed along with approximately 45 kilometres of electrical conduit.
  • 12,000 tonnes of reinforcing steel was installed.  
  • Concrete work on the structure itself began with the installation of footings followed by forming and casting of the tunnel walls and roof. A total of 50 concrete sections were poured.
  • The first concrete pour for the tunnel walls and roof took place on February 24, 2012, and the last pour was completed on October 30, 2012.
  • A total of 58,000 cubic metres of concrete was poured during the construction of the tunnel.
  • Thirty-two 100-horsepower exhaust jet fans, weighing 2,000 pounds each, and 1,380 lighting fixtures were installed onto the ceiling of the tunnel.
  • Various traffic control devices, lane control and life safety systems have been installed in the tunnel.

Project timeline

  • February 2011 – City Council approved construction of the Airport Trail tunnel
  • July 2011 – excavation began
  • February 2012 – concrete pour of the first of 50 tunnel walls and roof sections
  • August 31, 2012 – hand over to Calgary Airport Authority (CAA) the area above the tunnel under the future runway
  • October 2012 – completion of tunnel concrete work and hand over to CAA the area above the tunnel under the taxiways
  • 2013 – majority of roadwork construction
  • June 30, 2013 – hand over to CAA the area above the tunnel under east perimeter service road
  • July 31, 2013 – hand over to CAA the area above the tunnel under west perimeter service road
  • May 24, 2014 – Airport Trail Tunnel Opening event
  • May 25, 2014 – tunnel open to traffic

Project photos


Photo Gallery - Unclassified

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More information

Transportation Infrastructure is committed to keeping citizens informed about this project. For inquiries that include a maintenance concern, safety concern, project status or design inquiry, a general inquiry, a compliment, complaint or opinion, please see the Airport Trail Tunnel - Maintenance webpage.

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