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Two Major Projects Planned for Sky Harbor

Courtesy of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

Kyle Kotchou, deputy director of design and construction services for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, announced two new planned projects totaling nearly $1B for the facility at the AZBEX 2016 Public Works Conference held Oct. 5 at the Camelback Inn in Paradise Valley.

In his presentation on developments at the airport, he disclosed a Phoenix City Council subcommittee had referred the projects to the full council for consideration earlier on Oct. 5, and that airport officials believe sufficient support exists to earn approval.

PHX Sky Train Stage 2

The first project announced was construction of the $700M PHX Sky Train Stage 2, a two-mile extension from Terminal 3 to the airport’s rental car facility. In addition to the line and guideway extensions, two new stations – one at the new Ground Transportation Center and one at the Rental Car Center – will be constructed, and 20 new trains will be purchased.

The planned extension goes through the site of a planned station for a future west side terminal. This will require splitting the guideway to create space for the station.

Construction will also cross under two planned taxiway crossings. “We’ll actually have to build under those, even though they’re not there at this time, so we can build these taxiways over them,” Kotchou said.

The PHX Sky Train project, to date, has consisted of Phase 1, which linked Terminal 4, the east economy lot and garages, and the light rail station at 44th and Washington streets. Phase 1 was completed in April, 2013. Phase 1A opened in December, 2014, and connected Terminals 3 and 4.

Initial planning for the extension began this year and will continue into mid-2017. Environmental planning is expected to take all of 2017. Design will begin this year and run into early-to-mid 2018. Construction is expected to begin in mid-2017 and take until late 2020 to complete. After testing, the extension is hoped to open in late 2021.

Terminal 4 – S1 Concourse

The other project Kotchou announced was the creation of a $250M, 220KSF Terminal 4 – S1 Concourse, which will be last of the airport’s eight planned concourses.

The project had long been planned but was put on hold due to the economic downturn and other concerns.

The new concourse is expected to alleviate ongoing issues such as curb capacity, as number of busses and personal vehicles on the roadways cause serious problems with congestion in the airport area. “If you’ve ever waited on the bus to go to the rental car facility,” Kotchou said, “it can be a nightmare at peak hours. That’s not good customer service.”

The project will also increase gate capacity and allow the airport to retire the aging Terminal 2 and will include a basement to provide expansion for international operations.

As with the PHX Sky Train extension, the new concourse development is on an aggressive schedule. Planning is expected to last until mid-2017, at which point the design phase will begin and run through 2018. Construction will start in mid-2018 and run until mid-2020. After testing, the new concourse will open in mid-2021.

“We’re poised to really blow and go on these projects,” Kotchou said. “The new aviation director (James Bennett) wants to get these done really quickly.”

NOTE: Paid subscribers receive additional project details in our twice-weekly PDF publication, including project stakeholder information and valuable project bidding leads. Find out more about AZBEX subscriptions or contact Rebekah Morris at or (480) 709-4190

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