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Reader: DIA Has Been a Debacle Since It Was Conceptualized

After months of escalating disputes over cost overruns and delays, Denver International Airport will terminate its $1.8 billion contract with the development consortium that it chose to oversee a massive terminal renovation project, officials said August 13.

Said officials would prefer it if the decision wasn't referred to as a "debacle" or "mistake." Here's what readers had to say about the...news.

Says Paddy:

Since "debacle" and "mistake" aren't allowed, is "clusterfuck" still on the table?

Responds Herry:

They're right, it's a complete f@#$ up!

Explains Michael:

This is typical corporate leeching. These companies do this crap all over the country and cause so many cost overruns. They know they can pay lobbyists and lawyers to make it hard for public agencies to fire them.

Adds David:

This airport has been a debacle since it was conceptualized thirty years ago. Was it really in need of a $770 million renovation? The only time I spend in that "Grand Hall" is the time TSA makes me spend there. What a waste of a project and money. Could $770 million have gotten us closer to our much-needed tunnel on I-70 through Floyd Hill?

DIA CEO Kim Day said the airport notified Great Hall Partners of the termination early this week, following a breakdown in a formal mediation process that had begun earlier this summer. "We entered into mediation with the developer in June in good faith, hoping to resolve all these issues, and have been unable to reach agreement," Day said at a press conference announcing the news. "We are very far apart in terms of cost and schedule, and our values — prioritizing safety, the passengers' experiences, and airline operations."

DIA began remodeling the Great Hall in July 2018 through a $1.8 billion contract with Great Hall Partners, a consortium that includes Ferrovial Airports, Saunders Construction and JLC Infrastructure. The renovation is supposed to add more dining and shopping options, as well as overhaul airport security and the airline check-in space to accommodate the boom in passengers that DIA has experienced in recent years.

But the project has been fraught with problems since at least February, when the contracting team reported weak concrete in the main floor of the terminal that, coupled with changes requested by DIA and other delays, could add hundreds of millions of dollars in costs and years of delays to the project that was originally scheduled to be completed by November 2021. In its last official estimate, delivered in May, Great Hall Partners said that it didn't expect to complete the project until 2025, with cost overruns of over $300 million on top of the project's original $650 million construction budget.

What do you think about the remodel? Let us know in a comment or at editorial@westword.com.

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