Nenshi hopes to cut new deal on Airport Trail expansion

An agreement between the city and the Calgary Airport Authority regarding the development of Airport Trail may be up for revision if Mayor Naheed Nenshi gets his way.

The 2011 agreement helped clear the way for the city to build the airport tunnel under the new north-south runway at YYC.

That agreement spells out that the city cannot extend Airport Trail east to Stoney Trail unless it also develops and funds new interchanges west of the airport tunnel.

Provincial, maybe federal cash coming

In last week's provincial budget, the Notley government spelled out it will be supporting the eastward extension of Airport Trail.

Nenshi is expecting the Trudeau government to also put cash towards the project in this week's federal budget.

Speaking to city council Monday during the airport authority's annual update, CEO Bob Sartor said he's concerned about the work happening east of the tunnel before new interchanges at Barlow Trail and 19th Street N.E. are built.

"If the Airport Trail extension is connected through and there is a significant lag in developing those interchanges, that access and egress to the airport will become problematic for travellers and will become very problematic for cargo," said Sartor.

Sartor wants to see all of the roadwork proceed simultaneously.

Mayor not keen on doing it all at once

Nenshi told reporters afterward that position isn't particularly helpful and he's hoping to work out a solution with the airport authority that would see the Airport Trail work done in phases.

"It's very clear that the work east of 36th Street is needed before the work west of 36th Street, but I think we can come up with a timeline that will satisfy everyone if the federal government contains that funding in the budget this week," said Nenshi.

The previous airport authority CEO, Garth Atkinson, was adamant that the terms of the deal would apply whenever the city wanted to extend Airport Trail.

Atkinson retired at the end of last year and with Sartor taking over the top job at YYC on Jan. 1, Nenshi said he's optimistic there's a chance to re-open the agreement.

New leadership, new thinking?

"With the new leadership at the airport, I think we can come up with something that works for everyone," said the mayor.

Under the terms of the 2011 agreement, the city committed to putting $50 million toward the interchanges at both Barlow Trail and 19th Street N.E. to access the airport.

The airport authority agreed it would put $20 million toward those two projects and contributed 24 hectares of land for the development of Airport Trail.