Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) has received go-ahead to award its largest-ever terminal enhancement contract—a $332.5-million package highlighted by a new direct connection between the airport’s A and B concourses, and a new baggage-handling system. 

The Maryland Board of Public Works approved the package on Oct. 12, with project work also including airfield pavements, lower roadway lighting improvements and central utility plant upgrades. 

Clark Construction Group, LLC, Bethesda, Md., was awarded the construction manager at-risk/guaranteed maximum price contract. The firm began preliminary work on the project earlier this year under a separate $25-million contract with the state, having also performed nearly $2 million worth of preconstruction. The entire project is being funded by Maryland’s Transportation Trust Fund.

Major construction is set to begin later this year, with both the concourse connector and baggage handling system to be completed by the end of 2025. The contract also calls for 18% participation by disadvantaged business enterprises.

The A and B concourses are primarily occupied by Southwest Airlines, which handles about 70% of BWI passenger traffic. The airport says total passenger traffic for 2021 rebounded by 68%, to 18.8 million last year. The 2.2 million passengers reported in July marked the largest passenger volume month since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also underway at BWI is Southwest’s new $135-million maintenance facility.

The airline’s first such facility in the northeast U.S., the 27-acre site will incorporate a hangar to house up to three Boeing 737 planes, along with office, workshop and storage space. Apron space will accommodate another eight jets. Maryland is contributing approximately $44 million for site preparation and utility improvements, and will receive nearly $67 million from the airline over the 30-year ground lease.