Toronto Billy Bishop Airport Tunnel Marks Milestone

Billy Bishop Airport

The pedestrian tunnel will link Billy Bishop Airport to the mainland terminal and provide predictable, enhanced service for airport users. (CNW Group/Toronto Port Authority)

The Toronto Port Authority announced 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 tunneling equipment having broken through to the island-side at 11:30 a.m. on Aig. 23.

“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 neighborhood.”

Excavation of the main pedestrian tunnel began in June 2013 with the creation of two 6-ft tunnels dug by Canadian-made tunnel boring machines dubbed ‘Chip’ and ‘Dale.’ Work on the seven small crown drifts, 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.

“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.”

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.

When complete, the pedestrian tunnel will have four sidewalks (two north and two south) moving at 2.3 km per hour. From a bank of six elevators on the mainland side, passengers will go 100 ft down to access the tunnel and travel 800 ft underneath the Western Gap to escalators that 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 travelers 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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