PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The sounds of construction battle the echoes of jet engines at the Pittsburgh International Airport.
A total of $1.393 billion of construction continues at the airport. As equipment and facilities age, the Allegheny County Airport Authority said it's in their best interest to build a new terminal for the travel of tomorrow.
To many Pittsburghers, it may still be the "new airport," but it's now going on 30 years old, and some parts have reached their life expectancy. In some cases, equipment doesn't even have the parts made for them anymore.
"All of those systems behind the scenes that people can't see, those are past their useful life. They're in need of replacement. That's why it makes so much sense to do this, and do this right now," Allegheny County Airport Authority Executive Vice President Paul Hoback said.
The new landside terminal is being built in the gap between the current landside and airside terminals. This will eliminate the features like the tram between them. You will walk in, go to security and then go to your gate.
"There's going to be a significant reduction in our operations and maintenance costs. By eliminating the people mover train, by eliminating 8 miles of that very costly baggage system to maintain," Hoback said at the construction site. "We're not a hub anymore. We're building an origin and destination airport."
The current airside terminal will go through renovation, and with the current gap between terminals, the construction is not causing any major impacts on flights.
"We wanted to make sure that we're separating the construction from the day-to-day operations of this airport," Hoback said.
Of the more than $1 billion for the project, none is local tax dollars. Airlines are footing a good chunk of the bill. To help drive some money into the local economy, more than 80% of the contractors are local. Steel for the project is coming from Ambridge.
"Hitting at the perfect time, right at the end of the pandemic, when we actually need that economic impact the most," Hoback told KDKA.
This is expected to be the first airport in the country to be built from the ground up post-pandemic.
The construction is set to end on time and be completed by 2025 and on budget.
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