Ports Toronto has officially opened a new pedestrian tunnel that connects the Toronto mainland at Eireann Quay to the Billy Bishop Airport.

Constructed for three years at a cost of $82.5m, the tunnel will help travellers reach the airport terminal in six minutes or less, by avoiding a ferry ride.
By eliminating the need for passengers to depend on the schedules of the ferries, the tunnel is expected to improve passenger flow and reduce line-ups.

The 853ft tunnel is constructed within a bedrock 100ftbeneath the surface of the Ontario Lake and comprises four moving sidewalks that move at a speed of 2.3kph.

Ports Toronto CEO Geoffrey Wilson said: "The design of the tunnel marks the first time in Canada that a drift system was used to construct the arched crown design of the main tunnel.

"This innovative design provided for the incorporation of three City of Toronto water and sewer mains to service Toronto Island and, in so doing, saved Toronto taxpayers more than $10m in duplicate construction costs."

While the construction of the tunnel was funded through a public-private partnership between Ports Toronto, Forum Equity Partners and lead contractor PCL, the cost will eventually be incurred by the users of the airport through a portion of the existing airport improvement fee.

Ports Toronto chairman Mark McQueen said: "The tunnel will improve the already swift travel experience for the two million local passengers who pass through our airport each year en route to destinations around the world."

A total of 42 digital screens have been installed through the tunnel’s pavilion and atrium to provide travellers with information to assist them with their travel. The tunnel is completely equipped with free Wi-Fi.

Image: Passengers will be able to travel through the tunnel in less than six minutes. Photo: courtesy of PortsToronto.