Passengers are looking at five to six additional years of construction noise, block-offs and reroutes at Denver International Airport.
DIA terminated contractor Great Hall Partners in the middle of the airport’s major renovation, airport CEO Kim Day said Tuesday.
The termination will be effective in November, and the airport hopes to have a new contractor in place by early next year.
The project now has a tentative finish date of 2025, four years later than the initial anticipated finish date of 2021.
CEO Kim Day said Tuesday that the “unfortunate transition” was the result of disagreements over safety, costs and timelines.
“Clearly, we’re disappointed,” she said. “This is not the outcome that we anticipated, but we are fully committed to completing the work responsibly and safely.”
The disagreements began when allegedly weak concrete was discovered during construction late last year. But Day said that Great Hall was cleared to resume work in February of this year and that the concrete investigation did not account for the entire delay.
DIA must now pay termination costs to Great Hall, which include reimbursement for the 25% the company had contributed to the project, as well as costs incurred to date related to the design and construction.
Day and airport Chief Financial Officer Gisela Shanahan said the necessary funds will come from airport revenue and not taxpayers, and that DIA is committed to staying within the original budget of $770 million, which might mean downgrading or delaying certain aspects of the project.
When asked about Great Hall’s assertions that DIA officials had contributed to the delay by failing to approve offered updates in a timely manner, Day said that Great Hall had not offered enough information about cost and schedule implications.
“I am not going to take the fall for the fact that they didn’t give us the information that we needed to make decisions,” Day said. “Great Hall partners repeatedly put options before us without costs or time estimates, so there was no way we could make timely decisions.”
Great Hall has not yet responded to Colorado Politics’ request for comment.
Passenger navigation is a concern as major areas of the airport are blocked off.
“We are very concerned about passengers who get lost, as we do ourselves sometimes,” Day said. “There will be ongoing obstacles for passengers, but we’re going to try and make it as easy as possible.”
Day said that Mayor Michael Hancock is in agreement with their decision.
“We will always prioritize passenger safety and experience and will never compromise those values,” Hancock said in an airport news release. “In the end, we did not have a partner who shared those values .... Denver International Airport is a vital asset for our city and state, and we are taking decisive action now to protect both the public and the integrity of our airport.”
Day’s biggest regret is arriving at this point when 13 months ago yesterday, Great Hall and DIA members were celebrating the partnership together.
“I’m just sorry that we’ve had to make this change, but it’s the right thing for us, the right thing for the city, and, quite honestly, it might be the right thing for Great Hall Partners, too,” Day said.