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Airport at night Plane sitting above tunnels Looking out of the tunnel

Moving people safely at Dulles Airport

Washington Dulles International Airport’s $3.4 billion D2 development program will improve the airport facility to handle increased airport traffic.


The D2 program includes a network of tunnels for new systems including the following:

  • Automated people mover (APM) system
  • Pedestrian tunnel
  • Underground baggage conveyors
  • Underground roads for the airport tugs
  • Utility tunnels

The APM System replaced most of the mobile lounges that transport passengers between the terminal and concourses. The lounges will continue to be used to serve aircraft that do not have access to gates and for unscheduled or emergency situations.


Phase 1: Detail design and design management for the APM, baggage, and tug tunnels.

Detail design and design management for the APM, baggage, and tug tunnels. Mott MacDonald's scope included tunnel structures, mechanical/electrical systems, ventilation systems and fire/life safety design for all tunnels and the vehicle maintenance facility. All design elements were progressed through feasibility studies and analysis of alternatives to 60% completion.

In addition, we performed management and design coordination of security and communication systems for both the tunnels and vehicle maintenance facility. However, following the events of September 11, the authority, like all airports nationwide, was required to reevaluate its construction plans. Decreased passenger figures and new security requirements caused some adjustments to prioritizing projects and schedule. The first segment of the APM connecting the main terminal and concourses A, B, and C, was opened in January 2010.

Phase 2: Pedestrian Tunnel extension

Following a reassessment and updating of the deferred phase 1 work to suit current airport requirements, Mott MacDonald led a team of 10 subconsultants to complete the design of the 1875-foot-long, 40-foot-wide NATM pedestrian tunnel extension, 2,800-foot-long twin 35-foot-diameter TBM tunnels that link to a 700-foot long cut and cover tunnel for a baggage conveyor system, and a 2,400-foot-long extension of the West APM twin NATM tunnels.


As a result of our involvement in both phases of the D2 program, we were able to help increase capacity and efficiency at one of the main airports serving the US capital.

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