News / Calgary

Airport trail extension: authority says build it simultaneously, city wants it phased

Mayor says money from the provincial government, and hopefully the federal government could lead to a phased approach for the Calgary project

The City of Calgary is working on plans to extend Airport Trail.

Metro File Photo

The City of Calgary is working on plans to extend Airport Trail.

The city and Calgary Airport Authority are sparring over how to build the Airport Trail extension.

On Monday, during the authority’s annual update, Mayor Naheed Nenshi conceded that the city would have a “lot to talk about” after they didn’t see eye to eye on a construction plan for the trail extension.

Last week, the provincial budget promised an unspecified sum for the Airport Tail extension, and Nenshi is waiting for the federal budget, where he thinks there may be more cash waiting for the city’s “number one” roadway priority.

“Likely this means we will have to phase the work between west of 36 Street and east of 36 Street, likely doing east of 36 Street first,” said Nenshi.

Airport CEO Robert Sartor said currently there’s a tunnel sublease agreement with the city that sees the extension beyond Barlow Trail and 36 Street – eventually to Stoney Trail – all built at the same time as the interchanges on Barlow, and 19 Street.

“Without those interchanges we’ll have traffic lights,” Sartor said. “Once we open it up all the way past Metis Trail to Stoney that Airport Trail will become a very busy thoroughfare. With traffic lights, it’s going to be jammed and that’s our worry.”

He said cargo operators will “simply go elsewhere” if they can’t move their trucks in and out of the airport campus efficiently. 

Nenshi called the airport authority’s simultaneous construction viewpoint unhelpful.

“There will be an opportunity to come up with a solution that benefits everyone,” said Nenshi. “It’s very clear that the work east of 36 Street is needed before the work west of 36 Street…hopefully we can come up with a timeline that will satisfy everyone.” 

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