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Updated: 8th January 2019 11:18

Nenshi to airport tunnel opponents: move on

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says it's time for opponents of the controversial airport tunnel to move on.

Mayor says rehashing cost debate not the way to move Calgary forward

A tunnel is being built under the new runway at the Calgary International Airport. (City of Calgary )

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says it's time for opponents of the controversial airport tunnel to move on.  

Ald. Gord Lowe asked for a report last year on the cost of future interchanges along Airport Trail.

Council looked at that report on Monday. It found the cost of the tunnel and all related future interchanges could top $500 million over the next two decades.

But those future costs cannot be blamed on the tunnel since the upgrades are needed whether or not the tunnel is built, Nenshi said.

"You know when we build an interchange at Crowchild and Shaganappi, do we include in the cost of the interchange at Crowchild and Shaganappi, the cost of all further interchanges on Crowchild Trail because we're pushing the traffic up the street? Of course we don't. That's sort of a ridiculous way of doing things," he said.

Construction of a new runway at the airport forced the closure of Barlow Trail between 48th Avenue and Airport Road N.E. in April last year.

The tunnel will compensate for the loss of that route to the airport by going under the runway, linking Airport Trail (96th Avenue N.E.) on the west side with 36th Street N.E. on the other side.

Last February council approved a budget of $294.8 million for the project and in June the city struck a deal with the Calgary Airport Authority to go ahead with construction.

Nenshi said it is a shame that some council members want to keep re-hashing the decision to build the tunnel. 

The project is being constructed in three stages:

• Construction of the tunnel under the new runway.

• Widening Airport Trail between Deerfoot Trail and Barlow Trail to six lanes.

• Extending Airport Trail through the tunnel to 36th Street N.E.

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