The backbones of the Tri-Cities Airport’s new concourse are growing.
Workers are gradually adding layers of dirt and compacting each to build the raised portion of the Pasco airport’s new concourse.
That part of the concourse, which is elevated by five feet from ground level, will feature two gates to serve larger aircraft currently using the airport. A ground-level gate also is under construction.
The raised portion should get a concrete floor covering the compacted dirt soon, said David Robison of Strategic Construction Management. Once complete, passengers will access the raised gates using stairs or a ramp.
A new screening lane will be built between the existing building and the new concourse.
Inside the terminal, workers are renovating what was the car rental and baggage claim area. Utility work has been done in that area and in the new portion of the concourse.
Baggage claim is temporarily located in a tent outside of the terminal. The car rental offices also have been temporarily moved.
Expanded restrooms will be where the car rental area once was, and the car rental offices will move past the baggage claim to the far left-hand end of the building. The baggage claim will return to its former position once the first phase finishes in fall 2015.
No dust is making it into the airport’s terminal, which is still being used during construction. Workers have installed temporary walls to block off the car rental and baggage claim area.
The doors between the construction site and the terminal are under negative pressure so that air from the in-use portion of the terminal building can go into the construction area, but air from the construction area doesn’t make it into the rest of the terminal, Robison said.
The signal officially switched to the new Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Range, or VOR, radio beacon earlier this week, said Ron Foraker, the airport’s director. That will allow the FAA to demolish the former VOR building, which is too close to the new concourse.
The airport also opened up the first part of the realigned taxiway D earlier this week, he said. Two phases remain to finish aligning the taxiway so it is parallel to the 7,700-foot Runway 12 for its entire length. It’s the taxiway closest to the terminal building, and so is used about 90 percent of the time.
The full realignment and resurfacing of that taxiway should be finished in October, Foraker said. Part of the realignment has to wait until the former VOR is demolished because the new taxiway will go through that building.
Thus far, construction is on schedule, Robison said.
Altogether, the expansion and remodel of the terminal building, the relocation of the VOR and the realignment of the taxiway will cost about $57 million. Of that, $28.5 million is being paid for by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The central gathering space for the boarding area, which will feature a large window with a view of the runway, and the other two gates on the concourse will be built as part of phase 2.
Remodeling and expanding the front of the terminal building, including the airline ticketing area, will be part of the third and final phase of the project. Construction is expected to finish around January 2017.
For more information on the construction, go to http://www.flytricities.com/.