Two design-build teams squeezed $907 million worth of construction into one of the world's busiest single-runway airports, managing to modernize and expand an 85-year-old terminal and related facilities while shaving a collective $45 million off the budget and pumping $415 million in contracts to local businesses as part of the San Diego International Airport's Green Build Expansion.

The 460,000-sq-ft Terminal 2 expansion also makes it the world's first commercial airport terminal to receive a LEED Platinum rating, says Bob Bolton, director of design and construction for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. Under an approximately $470-million contract, a joint venture of Turner Construction Co., PCL Constructors Inc. and Flatiron Construction Corp. built 1.5 million sq ft of new taxiways and aprons; 10 new aircraft gates capable of accommodating new-generation wide-body aircraft; a new security checkpoint with double the original capacity; a 9,200-sq-ft concessions area; 1.3 million sq ft of new aircraft apron and taxiway areas developed on a brownfield site; and a central utility plant expansion. The airport expects up to 33 million annual passengers by 2030, but it is hemmed in by the ocean and inland development.

A joint venture of Kiewit Construction Co. and Sundt Construction Inc. held a $227-million design-build contract for heavy landside civil work. That includes a new 1,255-ft-long upper-level roadway lined by a series of 50-ft canopies, five overpasses, two smart curbs that allow passengers to check in and drop off their bags curbside and a 10,000-sq-ft USO facility.

All this took place on a 450-acre site constrained by the proximity of the city of San Diego and the ocean. In order to acquire extra land for the project, a former municipal landfill had to be closed at the cost of $42 million. Moreover, existing soils in the work zone were contaminated by petroleum hydrocarbons. Bolton says that Kiewit/Sundt "took extra steps and worked with the County Dept. of Environmental Health and Airport Environmental Affairs to closely monitor, characterize and meticulously plan excavation of this material. As a result, the contractor was able to use it on site in designated areas to save cost and minimize landfill disposal."

The Turner/PCL/Flatiron team was able to reduce airport and TSA equipment costs for the baggage handling system by approximately 20% by "right-sizing" the system, says Daniel McGuckin, the team's project executive. This involved building the BHS for a 10-year performance peak while accommodating future expansion needs for the next 20 years.

Environmentally conscious and artistic designs informed the terminal expansion, which offers 12 instead of six security lanes, common-use facilities and concession space expanded to more than 149,000 sq ft from 75,000 sq ft. The highlight is a 300-ft-long, 2.5-story glass-enclosed hall called Sunset Cove, which includes apex razor-tipped window walls and custom hand-colored terrazzo floors that evoke the ocean washing up on the beach.

In addition to LEED-compliant features like natural lighting, solar panels and drought-resistant landscaping, the project crews diverted some 54,000 tons of construction waste from landfills, according to Bolton. An endangered species of bird also had to be accommodated during the expansion of the central plant, which included two 1,250-ton chillers, four 1,250-ton cooling towers and a 400-BHP skid-mounted boiler system.

Along with extensive use of BIM and rigorous safety training, judges noted the extensive outreach to local and small businesses, with one calling it "off the charts." Another commented: "How they interacted with the community was all really good with me. All the tight requirements really put it over the top for me."

Submitted by San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and Turner/PCL/Flatiron

Owner San Diego County Regional Airport Authority

Lead Designers URS and HNTB

Design-Build Contractors Turner/PCL/Flatiron JV (Contract 1) and Kiewit/Sundt JV (Contract 2)