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Groundbreaking kicks off airport expansion project

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The San Diego skies could soon be filled with more airplanes and travelers as a groundbreaking ceremony took place Wednesday morning to kick off construction of “The Green Build,” the expansion project of Terminal 2 at the San Diego International Airport.

The project will involve adding 10 new airline gates, a dual-level roadway for arriving and departing passengers, new check-in counters, an overnight aircraft garage, taxiway improvements, new shops and restaurants, more holding areas at the gates and improved security checkpoints for domestic and international flights.

In addition, new USO facilities will be built just west of Terminal 2, and the project is not expected to cause any closures to Lindbergh Field.

“This is the most ambitious improvement project ever undertaken at San Diego International Airport,” said San Diego County regional Airport Authority president and CEO, Thella F. Bowens.

Construction costs are estimated around $865 million with the total cost of the entire project at over $1 billion, according to the San Diego Airport Authority board’s acting chair, Robert J. Watkins. It is funded with revenues generated by the airport and Federal Aviation Administration grants and uses no taxpayer dollars.

The Green Build, which is the official name of the Terminal 2 expansion project, formerly known as the Terminal Development Program, is called so because the Airport Authority wants to highlight Lindbergh Field as an environmentally-friendly sustainable facility.

“We are building facilities, but these new facilities really are reflective of our commitment to sustainability in the community,” said Bowens. “It's not only a sustainable project, (but) it will also bring lots of ‘green’ acts into San Diego in terms of economic impacts through the jobs that (will) be created at the new facility …”

The over 400,000-square-foot expansion project has been designed to at least meet LEED silver certification with features such as drought-tolerant landscape; water-saving fixtures; exterior materials that allow for natural light to enter the building and reflect the heat; energy-efficient light fixtures; alternative transportation accessibility; and the use of recycled materials.

There are also talks of installing photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of Terminal 2, according to Bryan Enarson, vice president of development fro the Airport Authority.

It is estimated that there will be over 1,000 construction jobs created during the project, but it is not known how many new permanent jobs will be created at the airport.

The newly expanded Terminal 2 is expected to open sometime in late 2012 to early 2013 and will be completed in two phases. It is being completed on an old municipal waste landfill. The Airport Authority spent $45 million to clean up the area.

There is also a pending review of permits from the California Coastal Commission before phase two can get under way, which involves temporary relocation of Terminal 2 parking and Terminal 2 pedestrian bridge closures.

The Green Build project is a joint venture between Turner Construction, PCL Construction Services Inc. and Flatiron Construction Corp., along with Kiewit Pacific Co. and Sundt Construction Inc.

According Dan McGuckin, project director for the Green Build program, subcontracting working would become available in the next few weeks.

The expansion is being done to meet the current demands of Lindbergh Field and to alleviate some of the congestion.

“We want to offer our passengers (and airlines) a more comfortable and enjoyable experience,” said Bruce Boland, Airport Authority board member and chair of the Green Build project.

It is estimated by the Airport Authority that by 2020, 22 million passengers will travel through San Diego, an increase of more than 4 million passengers over 2008.

“The San Diego International Airport’s current facilities could not accommodate this without the Green Build (project),” Boland said, and added he anticipates new airline carriers to come into San Diego because of the expansion.

Lindbergh Field currently serves 18 airlines on 300 daily flights to 54 destinations in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

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