The Vancouver Airport Authority plans $1.8 billion in capital projects over the next 10 years, with a heavily front-loaded first four years that has the initial package of work already out for requests for proposals.

Don Ehrenholz, YVR’s vice president of engineering, says the first RFP includes $213 million to rebuild the A-B Gate Area at the south end of the domestic terminal, which is outdated and under capacity. Crews will create new baggage and retail areas, renovate eight gates and add another. He expects the contract to be awarded within two months and work to then start immediately, finishing in 2015.

 The YVR board is expected to approve two other “gateway package projects” this spring for completion in 2015. The first $200 million project includes a new series of corridors, about 3,000 feet in length, that will connect the airport’s domestic and international terminals with moving walkways on two levels and a moving baggage transports system on two other levels, speeding up international and domestic connections. The other project adds a $20-million customs screening facility for both visitors and their baggage. “We want to focus on trying to make Vancouver airport one of the best connecting airports in North America,” Ehrenholz says.

At the same time, another $286 million of airside projects will upgrade the 1960s pavement, extend taxiways and build a new airside fire hall in 2015.

In the final five-year range, which should launch in 2016, Ehrenholz expects upgrades to the check-in area of the domestic terminal, the rebuilding of the gates in Pier B, the addition of a new baggage system, a five-gate expansion in the international terminal (that alone will cost about $408 million) and upgrades to the aging road, water and sewer infrastructure that serves both cargo customers and the terminals.

 “Any renovation or expansion of existing facilities takes a lot of planning and temporary facilities to minimize the effect on airlines and passengers,” Ehrenholz says.

 The airport, located on Sea Island in Richmond, B.C., just south of Vancouver, generates the funds for the projects through normal operations and an airport improvement fee charged to its 17 million annual passengers.