LOCAL NEWS

SLC airport says fix ‘temporary’ after tunnel floods between concourses

Mar 11, 2024, 11:08 PM | Updated: Mar 12, 2024, 7:18 am

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City International Airport is trying to figure out how a river of water seeped into the airport tunnel, creating chaos for travelers. The tunnel closed down for about three hours during the ordeal, and while it is back open, the airport says the fix is only for now.

Kevin Munro, who lives in Tooele, said he was sitting in the tunnel before his flight Monday afternoon to get some work done. An employee came up to him and alerted him to the leak — and that he’d need to move.

“I look down the hall, and there’s water the entire distance of the hall almost all the way,” Munro said. “It was crazy. Water is coming out of the ground.”

The sudden stream of water, which Munro said “didn’t smell the greatest,” joined travelers during their tunnel trek to the B gates.

Water fills the tunnel between Concourses A and B at Salt Lake International Monday (SLC International Airport)

Munro said it caused “quite a little bit of a fiasco” as people tried to avoid it, and he was worried about making his flight.

“That was my concern, was I want to get to the gate because I don’t want to get stuck on the other side of this flood,” he said.

Airport spokesperson Nancy Volmer described how workers quickly funneled passengers through a utility corridor to the side of the tunnel, which is normally closed to the public.

Passengers walk through a utility tunnel to reach the B gates (SLC International Airport)

They also shuttled passengers between concourses, which one passenger reported created long lines.

Volmer said they’ve seen problems before, because the airport is built on a lakebed and construction crews had to remove water to dig down.

“What we see is a little bit of water leakage through the walls, so we always address that very quickly,” she said. “We have never had a leak to this extent.”

Crews diverted the water and about three hours later, the tunnel reopened to travelers. But Volmer said the fix is only temporary.

“We will be looking further into what caused the leak and see how we can have a more permanent fix so this doesn’t happen again,” she said.

Volmer mentioned how the second tunnel between the two concourses is opening in October, which will give the airport a backup route should this happen again.

Munro made it to his flight, and on his layover was still thinking about that strange, slippery situation.

“It was pretty surprising,” he said, “to see that much water just coming out of the ground in the tunnel there.”

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SLC airport says fix ‘temporary’ after tunnel floods between concourses