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Fay Preps Way for Pittsburgh International Airport Modernization Project

Thu April 18, 2024 - Northeast Edition #9
Brenda Ruggiero – CEG Correspondent

Seen here is the construction of the 1,300-ft. dual-level terminal bridge.
Pittsburgh International Airport photo
Seen here is the construction of the 1,300-ft. dual-level terminal bridge.
Seen here is the construction of the 1,300-ft. dual-level terminal bridge.   (Pittsburgh International Airport photo) The completed departure deck of the new dual-level terminal bridge.   (Pittsburgh International Airport photo) The completed piers prior to the construction of the bridge deck.   (Pittsburgh International Airport photo) Tub girders were shipped over 1,000 miles from Tampa, Fla., for the construction of the terminal bridge.   (Pittsburgh International Airport photo) One of the MSE walls supporting pieces of the artwork “Cross Currents.”   (Pittsburgh International Airport photo)

Fay, S&B USA Construction (Fay) is one of several contractors responsible for the construction of a new terminal at the Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT).

The overall goal of the Allegheny Airport Authority is to provide a more efficient passenger experience and reshape opportunities for the Southwestern Pennsylvania region.

Pittsburgh International Airport photo

Fay was awarded the contract to build a new network of roads as part of the larger Terminal Modernization Program for PIT, which has an overall total of $1.4 billion. Fay's portion totals approximately $154 million, which includes the construction of new roadways, bridges, culverts, retaining walls, drainage, utilities, traffic control and earthwork. The highlight of this portion of the project is a dual level bridge that leads to the terminal, with the top being reserved for departures and the bottom for arrivals.

The current airport first opened in 1992. Since then, considerable changes have redefined the needs of the airline industry. This, along with the introduction of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in 2021, encouraged PIT to launch a $1.57 billion Terminal Modernization Program. Through this program, PIT is facilitating the construction of a new 811,000-sq.-ft. modernized airport terminal adjacent to the existing one, a parking and visitor services center and an updated system of roads.

This project strives not only to create an efficient traveling experience for its visitors, but also aims to be environmentally sustainable and evoke the essence of Pittsburgh by incorporating both imagery and artists local to the region.

Due to the size of the project, PIT broke the work into several smaller contracts. Fay successfully secured the construction of the roads and bridges, a project valued at $154 million.

According to Fay Project Manager Michelle Olszewski, Fay began its portion of work with site preparation. Over the course of the project, this involved the use of Caterpillar D6 and Komatsu D39 dozers, as well as Komatsu PC360 excavators, to complete a total of 160,000 cu. yds. of excavation and 360,000 cu. yds. of embankment. The excavated material was then relocated using Komatsu HM300 and Caterpillar 745 articulated trucks.

At this time, Fay also graded stone and dirt for underneath the pavement using a Caterpillar 14M motor grader to ensure the roadways were correct grade, and crews installed more than 7,000 ft. of reinforced concrete pipe that runs throughout the project area.

Pittsburgh International Airport photo

"After preparing the project site, Fay started constructing 10 sets of piers, which serve as the foundation of project's crowning feature: a 1,300-foot dual-level bridge that connects directly to the new terminal," Olszewski said. "The top level is designated for departures and the bottom for arrivals."

Once the piers were erected, 68 tub girders were then shipped in from a specialty supplier in Tampa, Fla., during the winter months in 2022. The pieces were transported as 95 separate large loads over 1,000 miles to Pittsburgh, which Fay was responsible for coordinating.

A 110-ton Link-Belt crawler crane was used to unload and relocate these large pieces of formwork, and a Manitowoc MLC300 crane was used to erect the box girders for the terminal bridge in March of 2023.

"The entire structure consists of 8,000,000 pounds of structural steel," Olszewski said. "Once the steel was set, Fay poured the bridge decks for both the arrival and departure levels on the terminal bridge using a Bidwell 3600 finishing machine, and the decks were completed in September 2023."

Fay simultaneously worked on 12 MSE retaining walls that feed into both the north and south ends of the terminal bridge.

Olszewski said that each individual pre-cast concrete panel features one of 21 unique designs created in conjunction with two large-scale public artists with the intention of supporting the airport's "nature, technology and community" design vision. The piece is titled, "Cross Currents," and it was inspired by the importance of rivers to the Pittsburgh region. These walls feed into a pulse pattern created by architectural form liners on the bridge.

"Fay also constructed approximately four miles of roadway, which connect I-376 and the new terminal building through a system of ramps and bridges, using a TREX RT670 crane to fly materials and formwork from where it was unloaded to its corresponding location on the bridges," Olszewski said.

The four smaller bridges lead the ramps on the alignment up to the new terminal bridge, and Fay performed the concrete paving for these ramps in the fall of 2023.

Additional work included the installation of eight overhead sign structures and the construction of a parking lot for rideshare services.

As of mid-March, Fay was wrapping up work on the ramps and the sidewalk for the terminal bridge.

The company reported that the work was challenging at times, involving working around three active tunnels.

As part of this project, Fay is constructing the following: a 1,300-ft. dual-level terminal bridge, with the top level for departures, middle level for arrivals and bottom level for ground transportation; 10 sets of piers to support 68 tub girders; a ramp connecting to the new transportation network; approximately 4 mi. of roadway connecting I-376 and the new terminal building through a system of connecting ramps and bridges; a parking lot for rideshare services; and 12 architecturally designed MSE walls and eight new overhead sign structures.

Fay's portion of the project is expected to be completed by August 2024, and the entire Terminal Modernization project will be finalized by the spring of 2025.

According to the website, the PIT Terminal Modernization Program (TMP) was built upon these five principles that represent fundamental purposes driving the transformation: stabilize airline costs, be Pittsburgh's airport, be environmentally sustainable, enhance the experience for all customers and provide value to the community.

Pittsburgh International Airport photo

The Concept Design unveiled on Feb. 20, 2019, included separate levels for departing and arriving passengers and a non-public level for building systems such as baggage belts; additional space for an expanded TSA checkpoint; shorter walking distances for arriving and departing domestic and international passengers; indoor and outdoor green plazas and gathering spaces; additional space for concessions, artwork and other amenities; planning for technological improvements and more automated systems and emphasis on sustainability.

Early site construction of the TMP began April 1, 2021, with a groundbreaking held Oct.14, 2021. Heavy construction was planned for fall 2021 through 2024. In March 2024, it was reported that the TMP project was 60 percent complete.

The TMP will reportedly be paid for using aeronautical revenue from airlines and other facility users, as well as non-aeronautical revenue from parking, concessions and other sources. The cost of the program will be financed through the sale of long-term bonds approved through a use and lease agreement with airlines. CEG

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