A lot can happen in a year. In the past 12 months, what was only seen in renderings and drawings of the new terminal at Pittsburgh International Airport has taken shape and come to life right on the Terminal Modernization Program (TMP) construction site.
The steel frame was completed, along with the undulating roof designed to emulate the rolling hills of the region. We held a topping out ceremony with workers signing a beam and becoming part of the building’s history. Glass curtain walls are now complete, enveloping the new terminal and allowing for amazing views of the airfield.
Inside the terminal, tree-shaped columns were raised to not only support the building structurally, but also provide a calming feeling for passengers and guests; they evoke the forestry in the surrounding areas. Construction in the new terminal is now focused inside as skilled workers in the electrical, mechanical and plumbing trades install the veins of the building.
The double-decker front bridge is complete, as are the roadways leading to and from it. This allows for the safer and efficient delivery of materials on every level from the actual roadways instead of using cranes and overhead lifts.
Workers assembled our large parking garage quickly, with its prefabricated concrete sections arriving weekly and being placed just as fast. The Multi-Modal Complex (or MMC) is now almost its full size, with work being done on the interior and concrete being poured for the flooring on each level. Ramps leading up to the garage are also under construction, as is the foundation for the Customer Service Building that will connect the garage to the new terminal building.
We look back at 2023 with pride and accomplishment — and forward to another amazing year.
– Jenny Hepler
The interior of PIT’s new terminal from its second level, which will be the location of baggage claim and the passenger pick-up curb, on Nov. 9, 2023. (Photo by Beth Hollerich)
Milestones for the year ahead
Observers can anticipate an exciting trajectory in 2024 as the Terminal Modernization Program gears up for several transformative milestones.
After the terminal’s glass completion in January the stage has been set for full enclosure by March. July will bring the installation of vertical transportation systems like escalators and elevators, enhancing accessibility.
September and October will bring the completion of bridges and roadways, TSA checkpoints, the employee parking lot and the new baggage handling system.
The new parking garage is poised to top out in March, with a completion date slated for December. The project is pursuing Parksmart Bronze certification for the new garage as it was built with forward-thinking and sustainable practices in three categories: management, programs and technology structure design.
Travelers can look forward to the Parking Guidance System, which will help quickly identify open spaces via digital displays and indicator lights at the parking spaces.
In addition, the Customer Service Building will reach significant milestones with steel erection in February and structural precast completion in March.
– Breanna Dickey
PIT’s new parking garage is poised to top out in March, with a completion date slated for December. The Customer Service Building is expected to achieve steel erection in February and structural precast completed in March. (Courtesy of Gensler, + HDR in association with luis vidal architects)
Building toward an experience
The achievements of 2023 and the milestones yet to be met in 2024 are driving us ever closer to opening day. What started as a simple sketch now builds toward reality, toward the emotional impression the new terminal will have on visitors.
The entirety of the TMP — from its overall design to individual elements such as the constellation lighting — is meant to deliver an enriched experience to those arriving, departing or meeting a loved one.
The TMP is the definition of modern. And what is modern must also be efficient, and it is this efficiency that will contribute greatly to what future visitors will encounter. The first and most obvious of these efficiencies is location.
The new terminal is being constructed directly in front of the Airside Terminal. This change in location negates a nearly half-mile gap between the existing PIT terminals, one that is bridged solely by a costly and inefficient train system. The new terminal will connect to its airside counterpart via the aptly named connector bridge, allowing departing passengers to navigate easily from security to their gates or numerous concession options simply by walking a few hundred feet.
Another efficiency: Travelers arriving at PIT will get their luggage more quickly. Currently, baggage must migrate around eight circuitous miles of belts due to the distance between the terminals. This system will be significantly smaller in the new airport; passengers will be able to walk from the Airside Terminal directly to baggage claim, where a new, more direct conveyance system will reduce the chance of delivery delays.
PIT is a gateway to the rest of the world for departing travelers and a salutation from the region for those arriving. The new airport is designed to foster this connection through several distinct facets.
Elements such as the roof design, the connector bridge and the tree columns are meant to promote a sense of familiarity with our region. Innovative design elements such as the green terraces before and after the security checkpoint will provide many with a calming respite from the stresses of travel.
Many milestones of the TMP will be achieved in the year to come, as we work to provide our region with the airport it truly deserves. We can’t wait to experience the new PIT in 2025.
– Rocco Pacella
Workers participate in a Stretch and Flex session in front of PIT’s new terminal on Dec. 20, 2023. Stretch and Flex sessions, which help warm up workers’ bodies and prevent soft-tissue injuries, are an essential component of the comprehensive approach to safety as part of PIT’s Terminal Modernization Program. (Photo by Oscar Rzodkiewicz)
An airport for our region’s future
The new Pittsburgh International Airport is being built for the people of Pittsburgh, by the people of Pittsburgh.
The airport’s state-of-the-art technology and innovative design will provide the region’s travelers with a faster, more convenient, comfortable and efficient experience.
When the current airport opened in 1992, Pittsburgh was a US Airways hub, and most of its passengers connected here on their way to another destination. Today, PIT is an origin-and-destination airport: 95 percent of its passengers either begin or end their trips here.
That’s why we think it’s apt that the new airport is being built by men and women who live in this region, using materials that were produced in this region.
The workers who are building this airport, and everyone who supports them — including all the employees of the Allegheny County Airport Authority — are making history. They are making an investment in their families, in their communities, and in the entire Pittsburgh region. The new Pittsburgh International Airport will drive economic opportunities throughout western Pennsylvania and ensure that the next generation of Pittsburghers can build their legacy here, too.
– Jonathan Potts