Construction of the new technical block at Kolkata airport will be over this December and the air traffic control tower will be completed a year later. Though, it will take another year to procure and install the communication, surveillance and navigation equipment, thus pushing the commissioning of the air traffic services (ATS) complex to December 2021.
Except for the initial delay of six months owing to factors like stabilizing the soil and reworking the pile design, the project is on track. Around 40% of the civil work is over, including the basement and three levels of the technical block. Part of the fourth level is currently under way. The fifth level of the L-shaped block will be completed by December. Thereafter, the tower will take another 12 months to be ready.
Work on the 51.4m-high ATC tower and 33.2-m high ground plus five-level technical block began in July 2017. But it took nearly a year and a half to complete the piling work, the most critical phase during construction of any tall structure. Some 798 piles were driven into the earth at depths ranging from 14m to 30m to ensure that the building and the tower’s stability.
The Rs 458-crore ATS complex will be a 4-star Griha rated green building right from the construction phase. In addition to green practices like rainwater harvesting and reduction in power load from 9,200 kw to 4,800 kw, the building will also have 31,000sqft green area. While the tower height will increase from 34m to 51.4m, the floor area of the complex will go up from 75,500sqm to 2,84,000sqm. The technical block will house around 750 people, mostly controllers and engineers. Also, there will be facility to park 200 cars and 100 two-wheelers.
The tower project had been held up for four years as AAI deliberated on the design and height. Initially proposing the height of the tower as 86m, controllers had lobbied for a 112-m structure that would have been the AAI’s showpiece. But the approved tower left many disappointed as the height was capped at 51.4m, way shorter than Delhi (102m) and Mumbai (83.8m).
A detailed project report is currently being prepared on the crucial CNS equipment that will be housed in the building and the tower. After the Airports Authority of India bosses give the nod in Delhi, tenders will be floated to procure and install the equipment, including radars.