Tunnel will add to the airport’s superior customer experience at Billy Bishop
TORONTO – Travel from Thunder Bay on Porter Air to Toronto is going to get easier. The Pedestrian Tunnel has broken through, and with that is turning a corner to get closer to finished. Once completed the connection between the Billy Bishop Airport and downtown Toronto will be much easier. “This is a watershed moment for our passengers. The pedestrian tunnel is well on its way to being complete, now that the most technically difficult element of the project is behind us,” remarked Toronto Port Authority Board Chairman, Mark McQueen. “The tunnel will demonstrably add to the airport’s superior customer experience. And by balancing out passenger flows, traffic congestion will be reduced, which is an important benefit for the ever-growing residential community that has been attracted to Billy Bishop Airport’s neighbourhood.”
The Toronto Port Authority announced today that the Pedestrian Tunnel Project has passed the halfway mark. The core of the pedestrian tunnel to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is now fully excavated, with tunnelling equipment having broken through to the island-side at 11:30 a.m this morning.
Excavation of the main pedestrian tunnel began in June 2013 with the creation of two six-foot tunnels dug by Canadian-made tunnel boring machines dubbed ‘Chip’ and ‘Dale’. Work on the seven small “crown” shafts, two of which host new City of Toronto water and sewer mains, began in December 2012. The Project’s next phase is the construction of the pedestrian tunnel skeleton, with completion of this element expected at the end of the year.
Tunnel Connects Airport and Downtown Toronto
“The Pedestrian Tunnel Project is an important piece of infrastructure that will support the airport’s success and future growth,” commented Mr. Richard Abboud, President and CEO of Forum Equity Partners. “We look forward to the continued growth of our relationship with the Toronto Port Authority and the community as we progress towards future project milestones.”
“PCL is proud to be involved in this historic project that is set to become the world’s first underwater pedestrian tunnel connecting an airport to mainland,” said PCL vice-president and district manager Bob Martz. “This breakthrough today is an important milestone that brings us one step closer to providing the passengers who travel through Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport with a reliable, efficient, and convenient access route.”
“I simply cannot say enough in congratulating a committed team that worked so diligently to get this tunnel in place” said Technicore CEO Tony DiMillo. Our in-house designed and built tunnel boring machines performed flawlessly, with some very innovative concrete design and placement techniques.”
Public Private Partnership
The Pedestrian Tunnel Project is being built through a public-private partnership model led by Forum Infrastructure Partners. An eight-part consortium is responsible for building, financing and operating the tunnel. The TPA retains ownership of the tunnel throughout the life of the P3 concession period.
The Project consortium recently held its 9th Tunnel Construction Committee meeting on July 30, 2013 at the Harbourfront Community Centre. Representatives from Forum, PCL, and the TPA outline the status of the construction process and answer questions of those in attendance. The next session is scheduled for September 24, 2013.
When complete, the pedestrian tunnel will have four sidewalks (two north and two south) moving at 2.3 kilometres per hour. From a bank of six elevators on the mainland side, passengers will go 100 feet down to access the tunnel and travel 800 feet underneath the Western Gap to escalators which take passengers to the airport’s check-in area. The complete journey will take less than six minutes, and will dramatically improve passenger flows while removing the risk that ferry passengers have to wait for a second crossing during peak periods given the Marilyn Bell I’s 200 passenger limit. Passengers will also notice shorter check-in and security screening lines as travellers will no longer be arriving at the airport terminal in four ferry “waves” per hour, as is currently the case.
Construction began on the Pedestrian Tunnel Project in March 2012. The pedestrian tunnel will link Billy Bishop Airport to the mainland and provide enhanced service and convenient access for airport users. Project completion is expected in the second half of 2014.
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