Construction of the major expansion at the Salt Lake City International Airport continues on schedule and the foundation of the new terminal building is starting to peek out of the ground. The project includes the new terminal, a new west wing to the south concourse, a gateway center, a central utility plant and a new parking garage.

Construction crews continue to encounter problems, including swamp-like conditions in some areas. “We have a lot of soil conditions that we have to deal with here, so a lot of ground water,” said Mike Williams, project director.

Crews have placed underground stone columns to help with the stabilization of the structure in the event of an earthquake and to help mitigate the effects of its proximity to the Great Salt Lake.

“We’ve got 136 acres and I think we’re building on 134 of it,” said Williams. “You can see the concrete wall going up, we got half the mat concrete slab wrapping up, the other one coming [soon] and starting to build that tunnel up out of the ground.”

When complete, the new airport will be able to easily handle the 23 million passengers that the current facility takes in, far exceeding its capacity as the current facility was only designed to handle 10 million passengers.  

To date, $250 million of the $3 billion budgeted for the project has been spent. The budget for the north concourse has not been finalized. The current concept design has the budget for that estimated at $737 million.  Officials say it is expected to exceed that amount once there is a design for the concourse.

“The additional funds that were just added, some of that was scope-related, some additional things that the airlines and users wanted in the building, said Williams.

The funding for the new airport comes from user fees, airline and rental car charges, bonds, and help from the federal Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The first phase of the project will be complete in 2020.  After the first phase is finished, the remainder of the existing terminals and buildings will be demolished so that Phase 2 can begin.  The second phase is set to be complete by 2025.  The project will create an estimated 24,000 jobs and pay more than $1 billion in wages during the course of construction.

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