Denver, CO

Denver pays $331 million for airport expansion, flood repairs

David Heitz

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By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) The Denver City Council extended various contracts for the renovation of Denver International Airport by $331 million over two years Monday.

Some of the extensions became necessary after a pipe burst in December 2021 and flooded a newly renovated area of the airport. Hot water caused extensive damage. Although construction companies are working to obtain insurance settlements, they need to make repairs now. Other contract expansions come from a desire to add capacity at the airport.

Contract extensions through Dec. 31, 2024, will go to:

· Turner-Flatiron Joint Venture, $185 million. The money will be used to rebuild concrete aprons for gates A40, A48, A50, A54 and A60. The aprons are in poor condition, according to airport officials. Completing the work now limits disruption and provides savings, officials say.

· Holder-FCI Joint Venture and Turner-Flatiron Joint Venture, $88 million. Pays for changes necessary due to airline requests to accommodate increased passenger forecasts and adds gate space to the terminal.

Paying for flood damage

Some contracts will repair flood damage. Those include:

· WSP USA Inc., $27 million. This will pay for a new Delta-Sierra deicing pad and repairs caused by the flood.

· Jacobs Engineering, $3 million. The money will pay for additional deicing capacity and repairs caused by the pipe bursting.

· HNTB Corp., $14 million. This will pay for repairs to aprons along the concourse. It also will add capacity for ground loading at the airport. According to a memo provided by the City Council, the amendment "increases contract capacity to accommodate the additional project requirements and meet aggressive schedules."

Sawyer votes down, Kniech criticizes contracts

Councilmember Amanda Sawyer voted against the contracts, two of which now exceed $1 billion. "For us to not send these back out to bid is simply not acceptable," she said.

Sawyer criticized the airport for not providing more information about why such contract extensions are needed. Councilmember Robin Kniech said she understands such moves sometimes are necessary but added the airport needs to start putting items out to bid.

"It doesn't count as a special circumstance if you use it over and over again," Kniech said of skipping the competitive bidding process. "I won't believe you if it happens again."

Councilmember Chris Herndon noted Denver is the third-busiest airport in the world. He said he has tremendous confidence in the chief executive officer. Councilmember Debbie Ortega agreed. "I think we have a leader that is being very thorough and attentive that we want more information on contracts."

Gilmore abstains

City Council President Stacie Gilmore abstained on the most expensive airport contract. She said her brother-in-law is a subcontractor with the company.

In December, city officials said the airport redo would cost another $1 billion and take four more years to complete. At that time, they said the project remains on schedule and budget.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career at local newspapers. Today, I report on Denver and Aurora city halls for NewsBreak. Prior to joining NewsBreak, I worked several years as a health reporter and branded content writer in the healthcare space. I also worked many years as a news editor and city editor. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver.

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