Excavation begins on main pedestrian tunnel to Billy Bishop Airport


GTA Construction Report staff writer

Excavation has begun on the main pedestrian tunnel to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport in the $82.5 million project, the Toronto Port Authority has announced.

“The beginning of the pedestrian tunnel’s excavation marks a major step forward in this project,
said  TPA president and CEO Geoffrey Wilson. “This next phase will bring us that much closer to providing passengers with easy and reliable access to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.”

Excavation began with the boring of two six-foot tunnels by two Canadian-made boring machines dubbed ‘Chip’ and ‘Dale’. The two tunnel boring machines were also used to create the tunnel crown that comprises seven interlocking drift tunnels. The excavation will take place in two phases; the first phase will involve the excavation of the pedestrian tunnel’s top half. The second phase will involve the excavation of the elevator shafts to the pedestrian tunnel’s base after which the tunnel’s bottom half will be excavated. The excavation is expected to be completed by the fall of 2013.


Construction began on the pedestrian tunnel in March 2012. The tunnel will link Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to the mainland and provide enhanced service and convenient access for the airport’s users. The project is financed by the private sector and will be paid for by departing passengers via the existing airport improvement fee. Once completed, the tunnel will also use 100 per cent green energy supplied by Bullfrog Power Inc.

The 800-foot walkway will be completed in spring 2014 and will be the only known pedestrian tunnel in the world that connects to an airport and sits beneath a body of water.

The tunnel project is being delivered  through a public private partnership model.  The private sector consortium delivering the project comprises: Forum Equity Partners (concessionaire and equity sponsor), PCL Constructors (design-builder), Johnson Controls (facility manager), Technicore Underground (tunnelling contractor); Arup (lead designer), ZAS (architect), and Exp (geotechnical engineer).

Project completion is expected in summer 2014.


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