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Billy Bishop Airport tunnel progresses slowly

Construction of the tunnel to Billy Bishop Airport, announced with much fanfare at the beginning of the year, is continuing, but slowly.

According to the latest update, work this past week included excavation on the shaft located at the foot of Eireann Quay. "This excavation will involve the removal of soil and rock that will be trucked offsite for disposal" on the mainland side. On the island, in addition to continued utility work, "shaft walls are under construction. This work involves the excavation and filling (with steel and/or concrete) of a series of holes around the shaft’s perimeter."

The project, which proved so controversial in the lead-up to David Miller's first election as mayor, continues to draw fire.

"They have come through a very complex construction management plan," says councillor Adam Vaughan, in whose ward it's being built, “and to the disappointment of the community, they've already started violating the start-stop times."

The work, which can be noisy, is limited by the same restrictions placed on all non-emergency construction work in the city, starting no earlier than 7am, finishing no later than 7pm on weekdays. But Vaughan's office has received multiple noise complaints related to the site.

Vaughan says there are also plans to dump the excavated material into the inner harbour, both to dispose of it and to discourage boats from entering the airport's no-sail zone, But Vaughan says this plan would not so much dissuade boats from entering the area as run the ones that do aground.

The tunnel, originally budgeted at between $20 and $40 million, is currently estimated to cost $80 million, according to Vaughan, some of which is being paid for by new $20 passenger fees for Porter and Air Canada flights into and out of the island airport. The current estimated date of completion is summer 2014.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Councillor Adam Vaughan

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

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