Multi-billion dollar expansion of Lindbergh Airport unveiled

by on January 24, 2009 · 1 comment

in Economy, Energy, Environment, San Diego

By Thor Kamban Biberman / San Diego Daily Transcript / Friday, January 23, 2009

A more than $1 billion plan to add 10 gates, and probably a parking structure, at Lindbergh Field is scheduled before the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority in March, but it may cost another $4 billion to build out the airport that would soon be gridlocked.
An airport update was presented at a Society for Marketing Professional Services meeting at the DoubleTree Hotel in Mission Valley last Wednesday.

Iraj Ghaemi, the Airport Authority’s director of facilities development, noted that with 227,000 aircraft operations, Lindbergh was the busiest single runway commercial service airport in North America in 2008. A record 18.3 million passengers came through the gates last year. “What other facilities make more efficient use of what they have?” Ghaemi asked. Ghaemi said while the 661-acre airport will still max out within 15 years, the improvements will buy some time. “Among other things these improvements will allow us to bring in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner,” Ghaemi said.

The terminal expansion will also include $13.7 million for security improvements throughout the airport.

The parking structure, which has yet to be approved by the Airport Authority board, could have a total of 5,000 spaces. This would represent a net gain of about 3,500 spaces factoring in the loss of surface lots.

The airport expansion is being handled by the Airport Authority’s Facilities Development Department that has a $22.6 million operating budget and a staff of 85.

General contractors Kiewit Pacific, Turner Construction, PCL Construction, Sundt, Flat Iron Construction, Austin Commercial Construction, URS Corp., and the HNTB architecture, construction and engineering firm, have each been working on the project, along with San Francisco-based Jacobs Consultancy. The projects are expected to be constructed in design-bid-build process that could be tailored as needed.

While only about $60.4 million has been allocated in the 2009 fiscal year toward the addition of the 10 gates, some $277.64 million has been allotted toward other capital projects in this fiscal year.

In order to facilitate the expansion, the Airport Authority plans to spend $31.74 million for remediation of what was formerly a Naval Training Center property landfill. The authority plans on spending a total of more than $52.5 million to clean up this adjacent site. Some of the other work planned this year includes the reconstruction of taxiways, new fencing and a new ramp for air cargo, among many other improvements.

This work doesn’t include what Jacobs Consultancy has concluded is a $4 billion plan to realize what has come to be known as “Destination Lindbergh.” “This is what they (Jacobs) said it would be, but that cost has yet to be verified,” said Keith Wilschetz, Airport Authority planning director.

As noted by Wilschetz, Destination Lindbergh as conceived would include new passenger processing facilities, an intermodal transportation center, Coaster station, a people mover, elevated walkways, a consolidated rental car facility and structured parking. A high-speed rail station could be in the mix as well.

As recently as 2006, the Airport Authority’s board had recommended that the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station be the new airport, but that idea was soundly thrashed at the polls that year. The authority had concluded that a new airport could have been built there for $7.3 billion in current dollars, but that doesn’t matter now.

Ghaemi, who said Lindbergh generates $10 billion and 6,000 jobs, suggested that even $5 billion won’t eliminate the fact that Lindbergh will always be constrained.  “By 2025 we’re going to be in trouble,” he said.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Frank Gormlie January 26, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Before 9-11 that’s all we heard: ‘Lindbergh will outgrow itself in the next ____(fill in ) years. The airport must be greatly expanded in order to fulfill the needs of future fliers.’ The community has been told in the not too distant past by airport consultants that current buildings – recently constructed themselves – would have to be demolished to make way for new structures.

Then after the attacks, airplane and airport usage declined of course. Now it’s building itself up. And once again, we hear the bells of expansion ringing loudly.

Many questions abound: here’s acouple:
how much of this airport expansion is based on rising population figures for San Diego County? The County’s population just this past year rose a bit in the black. We have had net population losses for several years.

Are we really going to have a multi-level parking structure facing Harbor Drive?


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