San Diego Airport Terminal 1 Construction Could Begin as Early as November

by on October 8, 2021 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

Approval of Key Contracts Allow Replacement of Terminal 1 to Move Forward: Feds Need to Approve Environmental Report

By Lori Weisberg / San Diego Union-Tribune / Oct. 7, 2021 

Construction on the long-awaited expansion of Terminal 1 at the San Diego International Airport could start as early as next month, following a vote Thursday on two key contracts for what will eventually be a $3.4 billion project — the largest in the airport’s history.

In a unanimous vote, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority board agreed to pay a maximum of $2.6 billion for the replacement of the 19-gate Terminal 1 with a 30-gate, state-of-the-art facility — plus major new roadways that will ease access to the future 1.2 million-square-foot terminal. A second contract for a new taxiway and related airfield improvements was also awarded in the amount of nearly $252 million.

Nearly a decade in the making, the ambitious project will deliver 11 additional gates, much-improved food and retail concessions, a baggage handling system that will be able to process up to 2,000 bags per hour during peak periods, and an outdoor deck off the future food hall that will offer panoramic views of the harbor and downtown skyline. A 5,200-parking garage also will be built, as well as an elevated departure roadway similar to the one serving Terminal 2, and a new three-lane airport access road from Laurel Street and North Harbor Drive that airport planners say would remove 45,000 vehicle trips per day from Harbor Drive.

Weisberg reports that the airport plan’s federal environmental impact analysis still needs to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration before construction can get underway. This could come as early as this month, which means ground-breaking could begin in November.

Weisberg also explains that with the replacement of Terminal 1, space is made available for a “future high-speed transit connection via a people mover traveling between the airport and a still undeveloped Grand Central Station that would likely be located on the Navy’s 70-acre Old Town Complex, commonly known as NAVWAR.”

In a huge understatement, Weisberg notes that the Navy – SANDAG project “is not yet a done deal.”  Space is being saved, however for a transit station, to be generally located on the west side of the Terminal 1 parking structure. In the meantime, the airport will begin providing next month free shuttle service between the Old Town Transit Center and Lindbergh Field.

It’s been 8 years since the $1 billion redevelopment of Terminal 2 Weisberg reminds us, which at the time was called “the largest project in airport history.” The new Terminal 1 could surpass the improvements made to Terminal 2.

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