Photo Credit: Tanathip Rattanatum
Train Tunnel Extension At Atlanta Airport Will Improve Transport Times
Construction is underway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. An 833-foot tunnel extension is currently in the works for the airport’s Plane Train transportation system, according to WSBTV Atlanta. The extended tunnel will help shorten wait times, allowing arriving and departing passengers to reach their destination more quickly.
Tom Nissalke, the airport‘s assistant general manager of planning and development said, “The goal is to increase capacity of the Plane Train.”
With the current system, trains working baggage claim have to back up before they are able to switch over to the tracks that carry passengers to their concourses. After the tunnel extension is completed, trains will no longer have to back up before proceeding on to retrieve passengers. They will be able to pull into the new tunnel and easily switch tracks.
“These trains are always moving forward,” Nissalke said. “That will allow the time between trains to decrease from 108 seconds to 90 seconds and by doing that during peak periods, instead of ten thousand passengers per hour, that number is twelve thousand. A 20 percent increase.”
Forty-five thousand pounds of dynamite were used to remove rock and create space for the tunnel.
“Two hundred and eight was the number of blasts we did,” said project manager Gabrielle Ferro. “That contains our shaft blasting as well as our tunnel blasting. Every time we did a blast, we would be watching our real time data to see what the movements were.”
The blasts were measured with seismic equipment used to measure earthquakes. People on the surface above, however, could not feel any of the activity.
The tunnel expansion will cost $331 million and is being funded by airlines and airport user fees. It is estimated that the project will be completed by May 2024. In addition, three trains will be added by the end of 2025.