Built for Pittsburgh by Pittsburgh: Saluting the Builders

WATCH: From union workers to business owners, new terminal energizing community

By Julie Bercik

Published January 8, 2024

Read Time: 3 mins


From the beginning, when the new terminal at PIT was just a sketch on a napkin, it was always meant to be an airport built for Pittsburgh by Pittsburgh.

Since Blue Sky News launched “Built for Pittsburgh by Pittsburgh,” a video series highlighting the men and women building the new Pittsburgh International Airport, we’ve introduced you to:

  • second-generation IBEW Local Union #5 members
  • a third-generation business owner
  • a young woman from the North Hills of Pittsburgh who started her career as a project engineer
  • an Iron Workers Local # 3 member who has his fingerprint on projects throughout the region
  • a project manager who played a role in the early access package
  • and a site safety manager who sometimes steps back and says, “Wow, this is a day in the office.”

In our final “Built for Pittsburgh by Pittsburgh” video, we feature each person that appeared in the series and what this project means to them.

“I’m Pittsburgh from my head to my toes. Being born and raised here and being part of large projects like this, it makes me very proud to be a Pittsburgher,” said Jim Gillespie, IBEW Local Union # 5, Thoroughbred Construction.

“This project is helping the construction industry, and all my coworkers really thrive,” said Bobie Sue Clawson, Site Safety Manager PJ Dick/ Hunt. “It’s really great to see familiar faces and everybody really taking pride in this project because it is so close to home.”

There’s no way to tell the stories of each of the thousands of people working on the project, but the work every person is doing plays a paramount role in building the future of the region.

The skilled trades members who are building the new Pittsburgh International Airport are moms and dads, aunts and uncles and community members. Construction of the new terminal creates 14,300 direct and indirect jobs and has an economic impact of $2.5 billion for the region – including $1 billion in direct labor income.

Every day as work progresses on the construction site, it’s one day closer to opening day in 2025. All the structural steel is in place. Roof and window installation is complete. Work on the Multi-Modal Complex, a 3,300-space parking garage and rental car facility, is progressing, and the foundation of the Customer Service Building connecting the parking garage to the terminal is underway.

As work shifts to the interior of the building, more skilled trades like carpenters, millwrights and steamfitters will be on site. By spring, nearly 1,200 men and women will be working on the construction site daily.

When the new terminal opens in 2025, you will see the true essence of Pittsburgh, from the roof that looks like the rolling hills of the region, to the connector bridge that delivers a Fort Pitt Tunnel experience. What you won’t see are just as important: 131 caissons, 182,000 bolts and the 9.5 miles of welds done by skilled trades members from the region. But all of it is the physical manifestation of what Pittsburgh is: a leader in innovation and a community that knows how to build.

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