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John Wayne Airport ’Back in the Saddle’ With New Terminal

Wed August 25, 2010 - West Edition
Erik Pisor


A John Deere hydraulic excavator works to deconstruct Parking Structure B1, which was removed to make way for the airport’s new Terminal C.
A John Deere hydraulic excavator works to deconstruct Parking Structure B1, which was removed to make way for the airport’s new Terminal C.
A John Deere hydraulic excavator works to deconstruct Parking Structure B1, which was removed to make way for the airport’s new Terminal C. A multi-processor attachment pulls apart pieces of Parking Structure B1 as part of the deconstruction process. An aerial view of John Wayne Airport taken in July 2010. Terminal C and Parking Structure C construction can be seen in the foreground.

The construction of a new 282,000 sq. ft. (26,199 sq m) Terminal C at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif. reached a significant project milestone on Aug. 2, as McCarthy Building Companies topped out structural steel on the new facility.

The event marked the end of a four-month span where construction workers used a 350-ton (318 t) crawler crane to install 2,400 pieces of structural steel.

Initial construction began in August 2009 when an existing parking structure was deconstructed by Nurpecon LP to make way for the new terminal.

“It was a deconstruction process. They [the contractor] couldn’t demolish it like a typical project. It had to be taken apart piece by piece,” said Jenny Wedge, public information officer of John Wayne Airport.

The existing east concrete masonry wall for Terminal B also was demolished as part of new Terminal C construction, as the new terminal will directly connect to Terminal B.

A Mini-Max remote control breaker was used to demolish the 20 ft. (6.1 m) high by 8 to 12 in. (20.3 to 30.4 cm) thick wall. The breaker was transported from Iowa and is a smaller version of a backhoe — with a custom made 6 ft. (1.8 m) long chisel that’s controlled by remote control, according to Khatchig Tchapadarian, project director of McCarthy.

Another piece of specialty equipment used during terminal construction has been a bending machine, which produces roof panels of varying radii for the different size barrel roofs.

Currently, average manpower onsite for terminal construction is approximately 220 workers, with that number to increase close to 340 workers at the project’s peak.

“We have been working nights for almost six months and will continue to do so until project completion,” Tchapadarian said.

A duplicate of the airport’s two existing terminals, the new six-gate facility is part of the larger John Wayne Airport Improvement Program — a $543.1 million project that also includes the construction of a new 750,000-sq.-ft. (69,677 sq m), 2,000-space parking structure. Constructed by Swinerton Builders, the new parking structure features buckling restrained braces for seismic reinforcement. The parking structure will be the first such structure in the country to use this type of bracing, which was developed in Japan, Wedge said. During both new terminal and parking structure constructions several project challenges have presented themselves.

“Working adjacent to and connecting to exiting terminal is a challenging task. The terminal is 20 years old and some of the records identifying exiting utilities are not that accurate,” Tchapadarian said. “We have encountered a number of unforeseen underground utilities. We have had to alternate our plans in order to incorporate new construction.”

Another challenge surrounded the deconstruction of the existing parking structure.

“It [the deconstruction] took down 1,100 parking spaces. We were having days where there weren’t enough parking, spaces,” Wedge said. “Finding parking for passengers while construction was under way was a major challenge.”

The new terminal and parking structure will be opened in November 2011.Parsons is the program manager for the new terminal with Arcadis/Pinnacle One conducting construction management. Jacobs is the civil engineer, with structural engineering provided by IDS Group Inc. Specialty contractors include: Capparelli/KHS&S (framing/drywall); Helix (electrical), A.O. Reed (HVAC), and Pan Pacific Plumbing (plumbing).

CEG