Toronto (November 13, 2014) – The pedestrian tunnel that is being constructed under the Western Gap to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is now entering its final stages of construction. The pouring of the concrete floor at grade for the tunnel’s mainland pavilion was completed today, and the hook-up of the first of two City of Toronto water mains – built into the tunnel’s design to save Toronto taxpayers an estimated $10 million in duplicate construction efforts – is scheduled to occur later this week. These milestones in the tunnel’s construction follow a number of advancements that have been made in the last six months, including the completion of the tunnel’s concrete liner and the island-side atrium’s roofing system, as well as the lowering of the escalator frames into place. The opening date for the tunnel will be announced in the coming weeks, once the construction completion schedule is finalized.
“It’s an exciting time in the evolution of this project as we shift from conducting the majority of the work underground and inside the tunnel to moving aboveground to complete the connecting terminal structures on the mainland and island sides,” said Geoffrey Wilson, President and CEO of the Toronto Port Authority. “Our tunnel will greatly improve the way in which our travellers access Billy Bishop Airport and will make our airport even more convenient by enabling travellers to come and go from the island terminal on their own schedule and in as little as six minutes.”
Last month, the Billy Bishop Airport Pedestrian Tunnel was awarded the 2014 Canadian Project of the Year by the Tunnelling Association of Canada. The tunnel was selected for its innovative and unique design, as well as the logistical accomplishment achieved by the project team which led the construction of the tunnel without interrupting traveller service at Canada’s ninth busiest airports.
“Right from the start, the Toronto Port Authority has worked to ensure that this tunnel was designed and constructed in a manner that puts the traveller experience first,” said Ken Lundy, Director of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment. “Building a tunnel of this scale and complexity while maintaining efficient operation of a busy airport is no easy feat, but we were up to the challenge and are proud to have the project recognized by the Tunnelling Association of Canada.”
When it opens, the pedestrian tunnel will have four moving sidewalks travelling at 2.3 kilometres per hour. From a bank of six elevators on the mainland side, travellers will go 100-feet down to access the tunnel and travel along the passageway to escalators which connect to the island atrium and the airport’s check-in area. The complete journey will take less than six minutes, and will dramatically improve passenger flows.
Excavation began in early 2012 on the tunnel’s mainland and island shafts. The final stages of construction will include the completion of the tunnel’s connecting terminal structures, installation of the moving walkways, elevators and landscaping, as well as final finishing work.
Large digital screens will also be installed throughout the tunnel, as part of an innovative Digital Out-of-Home advertising experience that will provide travellers who download the free Billy Bishop Airport app with a concierge-type service and curated content that will assist in planning and navigating to and through the airport. This content will include traffic, weather, way-finding, estimated wait times at various points in the airport, travel suggestions, restaurant recommendations and flight information.
The tunnel project is not funded by taxpayers but is rather financed through an innovative public-private partnership agreement between the TPA, Forum Infrastructure Partners and lead contractor PCL. A portion of the existing Airport Improvement Fee paid by departing passengers will also go towards the tunnel’s construction. Once in operation, the tunnel will use 100 per cent green energy supplied by Bullfrog Power Inc.
For downloadable, high-res images and more information on the Pedestrian Tunnel project visit www.torontoport.comor www.bbtcatunnelproject.ca. To request a tour of the tunnel, please contact Erin Mikaluk at the coordinates below for more information.
TORONTO PORT AUTHORITY (www.torontoport.com)
For more than 100 years the Toronto Port Authority has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. The Toronto Port Authority owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which welcomes more than two million passengers each year; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada’s largest freshwater marinas; and, Terminals 51 and 52, which provide transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. The Toronto Port Authority is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $5.6 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto’s waterfront and beyond. TPA operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a nine-member board with representation from all three levels of government.
Senior Manager, Communications & Media Relations
Toronto Port Authority
Tel: (416) 863-2065 or Cell: (647) 298-0544