$8B LaGuardia Megaproject Well Underway

FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2018

New York City’s LaGuardia airport—once compared to a “Third World country”—is in the midst of a $7.9 billion, 10-year overhaul, and is attempting to maintain full operations, accommodating 100,000 passengers on its busiest days.

Construction of twin facilities—totaling 2.5 million square feet—is currently underway, gradually replacing Terminals B, C and D.

“We coordinate all of the work around the operational needs of the airport,” Richard Smyth, redevelopment project executive for LaGuardia, told Engineering News-Record. “We do work at night because there are no flights and we can shut down roads. We have a four-, five- or six-hour window that we can work in.”

Project History

In July of 2015, Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed a massive plan to remake LaGuardia Airport from the ground up—rebuilding the terminals to improve the overall impression and atmosphere for passengers and expanding exterior space to ease ground congestion.

At the time, the plan called for demolition and redevelopment of existing structures to make way for a new “grand entryway” 600 feet closer to the Grand Central Parkway, the main highway serving the airport.

Partners in the project include the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, LaGuardia Gateway Partners (LGP) and Delta Airlines— who are both planning on leasing their terminals from the Port Authority until 2050. LGP is composed of a number of firms, including:

  • Vantage Airport Group—which manages nine airports across three continents and has transitioned 19 airports from public to private management;
  • Skanska and Walsh Construction—construction joint venture;
  • HOK and Parsons Brinckerhoff—design joint venture; and
  • Vantage, Skanska and Meridiam—a global infrastructure investment fund.

The Port Authority is providing roughly 50 percent of the funding for the project, with the private partners kicking in the remainder.

Recent Developments

Even though the night schedule has been an asset, unexpected delays, including weather and system glitches, shorten the operating window considerably. Activities such as pile-driving and concrete pouring must come with warnings days or weeks ahead of time. Coordinating all of this with passenger traffic has reportedly been a monumental effort.

LGP’s Terminal B will be a new 1.3-million-square-foot terminal constructed by the Skanska-Walsh Group construction joint venture, with HOK and WSP USA as design partners. The facility includes a 840,000-square-foot headhouse for luggage, ticketing and other administrative necessities. Plans also see the addition of two island concourses with 35 flight gates and concessions.

In July of 2015, Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed a massive plan to remake LaGuardia Airport from the ground up—rebuilding the terminals to improve the overall impression and atmosphere for passengers and expanding exterior space to ease ground congestion.

The rest of the endeavor includes the construction of a central utilities plant; 8 miles of road, including 20 bridges; airside facilities; and a 2,700-space parking garage. Work is being completed by 28 unions and a team of 2,400 professional and trade workers, Thomas Nilsson, a Skanska-Walsh vice president, told Engineering News-Record.

Terminal C accounts for a 425,000-square-foot headhouse and 37 gates across four flight concourses, as well as roadwork and a 21,000-square-foot substation. Foundations for the first concourse are complete, with steel gradually being erected. The headhouse and two of the four concourses are slated for completion by 2021, with the last two concourses set for completion in 2024 and 2026.

For both terminals, parking or other facilities were repurposed for the new structure footprints, while attaining LEED-certified sustainable designs with elements such as onsite concrete recycling and other utilities.

Problem Solving and Logistics

Despite flexible solutions and open communication, teams still face challenges from overlapping old and new spaces, such as relocating Terminal B’s fire alarm panel while temporarily syncing up a new heating and cooling system with the existing building, according to Thielmann. To address this, Delta’s team designed a 12-megawatt facility atop one concourse.

With so much coordination to account for, the Port Authority’s openness to different approaches to contract and deliveries, as well as communication between all parties, helped solve a number of issues. For example: the P3 structure allowed Vantage, an airport operator, to lead the Terminal B bid, said Derek Thielmann, project director for design and construction for LGP. This kept an operator’s focus in the forefront.

“It was actually led by the people who are going to operate the airport for the next 35 years,” Thielmann said.


Tagged categories: Airports; Infrastructure; LaGuardia Gateway Partners; Maintenance + Renovation; North America; Port Authority of New Jersey; Port Authority of New York; Terminals; Transportation

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