A rendering of the new Terminal 1 at San Diego International Airport. Courtesy of the Airport Authority

San Diego County’s Regional Airport Authority board on Thursday unanimously approved the master project schedule and maximum contract price of $2.6 billion for the design and construction of a new airport terminal.

The project would replace the existing Terminal 1 at San Diego International Airport.

One authorization remains to begin construction – completion of the Federal Aviation Administration’s National Environmental Policy Act process.

The board anticipates the FAA will complete the review later this month and, if so, construction could begin as early as November.

Gil Cabrera, the board’s chair, said the project will provide local employers and workers well-paying jobs and numerous contracting opportunities.

“The airport is a major economic driver for the region and the new T1 will make our city more attractive to the millions of people who want to visit and also provide a better travel experience for San Diegans,” Cabrera said.

As the airport’s only terminal when it was built in 1967, Terminal 1 served 2.5 million passengers in its first year. In 2019, the same terminal served more than 12 million passengers.

Kimberly Becker, airport authority president and CEO, said the Airport Authority continued to plan for a new Terminal 1 despite the pandemic. The project, she said, will lead to a replacement that “is modern, efficient and built to serve the thousands of passengers expected over the next several years.”

The project includes 30 gates, a selection of food and beverage vendors, news, gift and retail concessions, along with more security checkpoint lanes.

It also is intended to include improvements to the airport’s roadways to make it easier for traffic to enter and exit the airport. A parking plaza will handle several ground transportation services.

If all goes as planned, the first 19 gates should be operational in July 2025. Construction of the remaining 11 gates will begin that same month.

The project is expected to be completed in June 2028.

The authority estimates work on the terminal will create 15,000 to 20,000 jobs. Through the Airport Authority’s Small Business Development program, 25% of the awarded contract value will go to those businesses. Other estimates: 80% will go to local businesses, and 3% to veteran-owned small businesses.

Additionally, the authority has set aside space between terminals for a transit station to connect to a prospective transit project chosen by regional transportation planning agencies.

In other Airport Authority plans, officials foresee a late November launch of an all-electric shuttle fleet to will carry riders from the Old Town Transit Center to the airport and back.

– City News Service

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