Background

How does one convert a $1.2 billion project into a $5.0 billion project? It's easy. Just build a new airport in Denver. The decision to replace Denver's Stapleton Airport with Denver International Airport (DIA) was made by well-intentioned city officials. The city of Denver would need a new airport eventually, and it seemed like the right time to build an airport that would satisfy Denver's needs for at least 50-60 years. DIA could become the benchmark for other airports to follow.

A summary of the critical events is listed below:

1985: Denver Mayor Federico Pena and Adams County officials agree to build a replacement for Stapleton International Airport. Project estimate: $1.2 billion

1986: Peat Marwick, a consulting firm, is hired to perform a feasibility study including projected traffic. Their results indicate that, depending on the season, as many as 50 percent of the passengers would change planes. The new airport would have to handle this smoothly. United and Continental object to the idea of building a new airport, fearing the added cost burden.

May, 1989: Denver voters pass an airport referendum. Project estimate: $1.7 billion

March, 1993: Denver Mayor Wellington Webb announces the first delay. Opening day would be postponed from October, 1993 to December, 1993. (Federico Pena becomes Secretary of Transportation under Clinton). Project estimate: $2.7 billion

October, 1993: Opening day is to be delayed to March, 1994. The problems were the fire and security systems in addition to the inoperable baggage handling system. Project estimate: $3.1 billion

December, 1993: The airport is ready to open, but without an operational baggage handling system. Another delay is announced.

February, 1994: Opening day is to be delayed to May 15, 1994 because of baggage handling system. May, 1994: Airport misses the fourth deadline.

August, 1994: DIA finances a backup baggage handling system. Opening day is delayed indefinitely.

Project estimate: $4 billion plus.

December, 1994: Denver announces that DIA was built on top of an old Native-American burial ground. An agreement is reached to lift the curse.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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