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Tucson Airport on Verge of Building Boom

The new air traffic control tower, right, is juxtaposed with the older, more familiar tower at the Tucson International Airport. Photo credit: A.E. Araiza/Arizona Daily Star

By David Wichner for Arizona Daily Star

A new air-traffic control tower rising 12 stories above the skyline on Tucson’s south side is a visible sign of progress at Tucson International Airport.

And you’ll see a lot more construction in and around TIA as the airport moves forward with more than $200M worth of long-term building projects across the sprawling airport property.

It’s the biggest capital project at TIA since the airport added two concourses and a flight kitchen in the early 1980s, said Bonnie Allin, president and CEO of the Tucson Airport Authority.

Air-Traffic Control Tower

What they’ll do: The FAA is building a new, state-of-the-art control tower on the west side of the airfield.

When it will happen: In 2016, the new tower’s equipment will be installed, and the tower will be commissioned. It will operate in conjunction with the old tower for a year before being declared fully operational in 2017.

How much it will cost: $42M, fully funded by the FAA through taxes on passengers, cargo and fuel.

Terminal Improvements

What they’ll do: Move airport administration offices from various locations to the terminal’s third floor (ongoing); reconfigure the terminal, including ticket counters; relocate and widen federal security checkpoints; expand post-security areas to provide new passenger services; backbone infrastructure improvements for the 50-year old building.

When it will happen: Airport offices were recently moved. Terminal design should be complete by January and construction is to begin by late next spring or early summer and continue until the fall of 2017.

How much it will cost: $33M.

Airfield Safety

What they’ll do: Build a new center parallel taxiway between TIA’s two main runways; relocate the existing general aviation runway about 90 feet and widen and lengthen it for use as a commercial service runway.

When it will happen: Construction is expected from 2020 to 2022. The airport is selecting a consultant to perform a required environmental impact statement, which will take more than three years. Design is expected to be completed in 2019.

How much it will cost: About $180M, with TIA’s share to be determined.

Read more at Arizona Daily Star

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