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Denver International Airport Roof: Councilman Calls For Expedited Action Plan

DENVER (CBS4) - Following a CBS4 Investigation that found "critical" problems with the tented roof covering DIA's main terminal, Denver City Councilman Kevin Flynn has asked Denver International Airport administrators to provide an "action plan" on what they intend to do and when they intend to do it.

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"I want to see an action plan for how these critical issues will be addressed," said Flynn, "so we can assure nothing disastrous happens with that roof while people are out there using it."

On Tuesday, CBS4 reported that an annual inspection of the roof covering the airport's main terminal revealed what technicians characterized as "critical" issues that needed to be immediately addressed. Inspectors said they found 40 steel cables that needed immediate replacement.

"There is the concern of failure in the 20 more severe cases," wrote the inspectors, "though we cannot say how soon a failure may happen, we do not recommend waiting on replacement of these cables."

The report called this issue "critical."

In other places, the inspectors noted "cables are likely overloaded, cable failure is of concern. This was immediately brought to DEN's attention."

The inspectors included in their report photos of steel cables suffering from what is known as a "crushing" effect which showed a housing cutting into the cables.

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"East and West curtain wall exterior cables are in poor condition and of concern," stated the report.

The day after the CBS4 report, Flynn said he approached DIA's top construction manager, Jim Starling, at a council meeting.

"I asked him to get me an action plan for how they will address this."

He said he asked Starling "to follow up on critical issues and make sure we are not faced with something that happens later and we were warned about it."

In an interview Tuesday with CBS4, Starling said even if some steel cables fail, "The structure is engineered for redundancy. It takes into account issues like that coming up."

A DIA administrator said airport personnel are meeting weekly to discuss the January inspection report and they hope to have a plan on what they will do by June or July.

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The inspectors also noted that the massive fabric roof, which is nearly 30 years old, will need to be replaced in the next five to eight years. Starling said airport personnel have begun working on the design process that would occur before any replacement work on the 375,000 square foot roof could take place.

"It's not like putting new shingles on my house," observed Flynn.

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