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$153 million Airport Trail construction now complete

Nearly four years in the making, the interchanges on Airport Trail on 19 Street NE and Barlow Trail are now complete.

Phase 2 of the Airport Trail project began in the fall of 2019, as part of $153 million in phased upgrades in access to Airport Trail and the Calgary International Airport.

“The timing for the full opening of the interchanges could not be better times, as travel continues to climb,” said Chris Miles, Vice President Operations and Infrastructure with the Calgary Airport Authority.

“When you look at August we recovered 80 per cent of our traffic, and by the end of the year we expect to be around 90 per cent recovered, which is a remarkable achievement for a city such as ours and a province such as ours.”

The improved access on Airport Trail better connects 96 Avenue NE on the west side of Deerfoot Trail to Stoney Trail, and the communities of Skyview Ranch and Saddle Ridge.

“The completion of these missing transportation links is great news for Calgarians, for businesses, and tourists that are navigating our city,” said Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

“The northeast is one of the fastest growing areas of our city and these new connections will support service delivery and ongoing development.”

Mayor Gondek said that the new connections would serve to provide transportation routes for the next 60 years to industrial and commercial projects in the area, and provide for an estimated 70,000 jobs. The construction itself created 400 jobs for the lifespan of the project.

“We are preparing for the future when delivering the infrastructure that’s needed to manage growth within our city, and this project is here to serve Calgarians today and well into the future. Plus it has already served our city by generating hundreds of local jobs,” she said.

Trucks and cars access Airport Trail via 19 Street NE, after the completion Airport Trail Phase 2, on Wednesday, October 19, 2022. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Investment by Airport Authority good value

The project was funded in part by $50 million from the Government of Canada, a one-time $27.7 million grant from the Province of Alberta, and $20 million from the Calgary Airport Authority.

Miles said that the authority’s investment was something that they would have made again without hesitation, were the decision made today.

“Anything that actually improves how to provide seamless connection, whether it’s people, places or ideas, is a phenomenal investment,” he said.

The improvements to time from the airport to Deerfoot was important to shippers using the airport.

“They are heavily invested in making that as seamless as possible, and what this does is allow yet another seamless access on the airport trail,” Miles said.

He said that further investment and construction of infrastructure at the Calgary International Airport is incoming, including a major runway construction starting in 2023.

“Why that’s critically important is we are 75% of air cargo in the province, and investing in that infrastructure continues to support industries—not only the airline industry, but all our shippers, and forwarders, and the E-commerce network.”