Cheaper options explored for Airport Trail tunnel – Metro US

Cheaper options explored for Airport Trail tunnel

Proponents of an underground extension for Airport Trail are once again drafting a no-frills plan in hopes of getting the province and feds to chip in.

The notion gained steam after council Monday voted to include the design as part of its long-term transportation plan and now its biggest backer, northeast Ald. Jim Stevenson, said a cheaper alternative could be the key to making it happen.

“What administration had given us was a Mercedes design but we really just need a Chevy design,” Stevenson said.

“With the work we’ve done we could build a basic tunnel for about 30 percent less than the original estimates and get going on this.”

The city has already pledged $50 million for a new tunnel in hopes of enticing other orders of government and the Calgary Airport Authority to ante up similar amounts.

Stevenson said the new design, funded by northeast businesses and developers, could come in under $200 million if it’s done right and make a compelling case for other contributions to match the city’s.