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Tunneling Operations Underway on Plane Train West Extension Project at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Project team members from across the country commemorate the start of tunneling operations on a video conference.
Project team members from across the country commemorate the start of tunneling operations on a video conference.
ATLANTA, GA — Clark-Atkinson-Technique, a Joint Venture, has broken ground on the Plane Train Tunnel West Extension project at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest airport. Underway since 2017, the design-build project includes a 900-foot tunnel extension of the airport’s automated people mover system, which is designed to improve train operation and efficiency.

During the preconstruction phase of the project, the joint venture team completed design and enabling work at the West Curb to prepare the area for the vertical shaft and horizontal tunnel and shifted the path of travel for existing vehicular traffic lanes serving airport shuttles and taxis. This intensive years-long effort was a critical step in preparing the project for construction.

“We have been working toward this milestone for almost three years,” said Tony Gallivan, a Senior Vice President with Clark Construction, who is leading the project team. “We are proud to support the airport and the greater Atlanta community by building the West Tunnel Extension project and excited to begin the construction effort in earnest.”

In Phase I of the project, Clark-Atkinson-Technique will complete the vertical shaft and tunneling work and reconfigure the elevators and escalators at the Baggage Claim Station within the airport to optimize passenger flow.

72 project stakeholders from across the U.S. recently gathered virtually to commemorate the official start of tunneling operations.

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“We are fortunate that most of our significant capital projects have continued at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport during this uncertain time,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “While passenger traffic has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to ensuring the Plane Train extension project is completed, to ensure that the many passengers who make their way through our exceptional airport will continue to have a safe, secure, and efficient experience.”

The West Extension tunnel travels beneath the airport’s existing terminal and the MARTA and SkyTrain systems. The team coordinated extensively with both MARTA and the City of Atlanta’s Department of Aviation to ensure the tunnel’s design would support the load of the train systems and will implement stringent monitoring requirements and additional safety measures during construction to prevent disturbances to the airport and MARTA/SkyTrain during the tunneling operation.”

McMillen Jacobs Associates, with STV as lead architect, is responsible for the design. The project is expected to complete in 2022. Clark-Atkinson-Technique is comprised of Clark Construction Group (Bethesda, Maryland), Atkinson Construction (Austin, Texas), and Technique Concrete Construction (Atlanta, Georgia).

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