Pittsburgh International Airport’s tenant airlines have agreed to fund the first portion of the pandemic-stalled $1.4 billion Terminal Modernization Project. The March 17 approval enables the authority to solicit bids for $182 million worth of site preparation work and materials contracts over the next three months.

The work includes structural steel and concrete decks, foundations and underground utilities. Funds are also provided for additional design of Airside Terminal renovations, program management and other work, according to an agency statement.

Airport officials said in February that while contract awards will be based on “industry triggers” during the bidding process, heavy construction could get underway as early as June.

The airport authority already has issued notices to proceed on more than $19 million in contracts to local contractors Independence Excavating, W.G. Tomko and Westmoreland Electric for early sitework between concourses C and D, originally scheduled to begin last April. Those projects were paused as the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic all but halted passenger air travel nationwide.

Since then, airport officials have re-examined the terminal modernization project’s design and operational plans to address new pandemic-related health and safety concerns.

Paul Hoback, the airport authority's chief development officer,  said in a statement that the design “was right on target” with features such as large outdoor terraces, ample indoor space for social distancing, flexibility for next-generation technology, materials and touchless processes.

The year-long delay, combined with airlines-authorized “design evolution,” also added approximately $300 million to the original $1.1 billion project budget, announced in 2017.

Later this year, the airport plans to finalize a long-term airline operating agreements and bond financing for the remainder of the terminal project, which is now scheduled for completion in late 2024.

Construction also is underway on what officials say is a first-of-its-kind electrical microgrid at the airport, which—when completed this summer—will be capable of providing power redundancy for facilities.