Monday, 13th August 2012
Govt seeks tenders for airport tunnel and road
by Eyleen Sheil
The Government issued today an official notice for tenders for the design and construction of a new access road and tunnel for the Gibraltar airport and frontier.
The notice states that the scope of works consists of construction of a new road access linking the city of Gibraltar to the land frontier with Spain and the airport terminal. Including a dual carriageway, of which part of is to be a 350m long tunnel under the airfield runway and its corresponding approach ramps, with the total length being 1.25km.
It is unclear as to whether this means they plan on continuing with the existing works and tunnel or if a road will be built off the end of the runway and will include a tunnel. The Government were not available for further comment at thisstage.
On May 22, the Chronicle reported that the Chief Minister answered a question in Parliament from Opposition leader Peter Caruana regarding the complication of the tunnel and the Chief Minister advised that the tunnel is unlikely to be completed before the spring of 2015.
He said that new tender documents were being prepared for the completion of the remaining works for the tunnel project and associated road. The tender will be done in various stages and planned date for completion of the tender evaluation is March 2013, with works commencing thereafter.
The Chief Minister added that so long as the project was affordable, the benefits of building the tunnel were clear. Tenders for this notice are to be received by the Procurement Office by October 12.
Gibraltar’s runway and location on an isthmus is rare but not unique, the airport for New Zealand’s capital city Wellington is located on an isthmus between the city and Miramar Peninsula and it has a runway that is only 107 metres longer than Gibraltar’s.
Access on the south side of the New Zealand isthmus was via a road, best described as a trench, where planes landed or took off overhead and it was strictly forbidden to get out of your car in this area. At certain times the road would be temporarily closed, depending on the size of plane landing or taking off and the wind conditions. In 2006, construction of a safely area resulted in this road being covered over and the runway being extended slightly.