By Kristen Frisa
Ontario Construction News staff writer
Completion of the expansion of Norman Rogers Airport in Kingston has been expected since the beginning of the year, but the work isn’t done yet.
Aiport manager Rick Reed says there weren’t any specific or major delays, but “the project was just bigger than anyone thought it would be.” He said the project’s aim was to work around existing structures and build out, but it might have been easier working from scratch.
Still, he expects the project to be done within three to four weeks.
Work on the facility began in 2018, when runways were lengthened to add more than 1,000 feet to the north-south runway, then moved to the main building in April of that year. Since then, construction manager Jeff Simpson and his team from Doornekamp Construction have been hard at work on the terminal area.
New features in the expanded terminal will include improved check-in and baggage systems that are designed for the amount of traffic the airport expects during peak times, increased accessibility, and improved energy efficiency.
Since the work was included in a design-build contract, the city’s $16.1 million budget for the project won’t change, even with the longer timeline.
The need to expand the airport was first identified in the 2007 Airport Master Plan Study and the need for a longer runway was affirmed by the airport’s 2012 Business Case for Expansion. The airport sees more than 70,000 travellers move through the facility each year.
Reed says some of the new areas of the building are open for use, including new bathrooms and a hold room. “50 per cent of the new check in area is complete and they’re putting up limestone walls, it looks very attractive,” he says.
A grand opening is set for June 21, but could move depending on when the work is completed.
The work is only one of many projects Kingston has on the go. The city is also about to embark on the final phase of work on John Coulter Boulevard, in which the stretch between Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard to Princess Street is re-aligned and widened, and a new bridge is constructed over the rail line. That work is scheduled to begin in June of 2019.
Preparation for the Third Crossing over the Cataraqui River is scheduled to commence in late summer of 2019, as the tender decision is made on that project.