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Airport Trail Tunnel

The Airport Trail tunnel under the new runway at the Calgary International Airport continues to receive awards and recognition. The most recent honour is the 2015 Award of Excellence in Project Management from the Consulting Engineers of Alberta. The judges’ comments reflect why the Airport Trail Tunnel won the award: “The complexity of managing and delivering the project on time and budget is impressive, particularly with the need to sequence the project with the building of the runway.”

Other honours for the Airport Trail Tunnle include the 2013 top project award in the Civil category (over $50 million) from Alberta Construction magazine, 2013 Award of Excellence from the American Concrete Institute (Alberta Chapter), and a finalist for Project of the Year at the Project Management Institute (Southern Alberta Chapter).



The 620-metre Airport Trail tunnel opened to traffic on May 25, 2014.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  to recognize the hard work, commitment and cooperation of many people who delivered this piece of vital infrastructure.

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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  • Airport Trail Tunnel project update
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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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