Just before 3 pm on Wednesday, under sunny blue skies and surprisingly mild temperatures for the month of November, construction of the new passenger terminal at the Duluth International Airport really took off.
“This was an amazing day for the airport,” said Duluth Airport Authority Executive Director Brian Ryks. “We’ve been working on Phase 2 of the project for some time, but from now forward, the structure-that so many have rallied around in so many important ways-will quickly start to come to life.”
The first 40-foot-long steel column was put in place by a TEREX HC-50 Crawler Crane, and 40-plus more columns are soon to follow. “It’s like a huge jigsaw puzzle,” explained Kraus-Anderson Construction Company Project Manager Brett Cahoon. “Over the next few months, the whole superstructure of the building will take shape. Once the vertical columns are in place, horizontal ones will be bolted in, forming the support for the floors of the new passenger terminal.”
By early next year, the concrete floors will be poured in the three-story structure. By early spring 2011, the exterior walls will be built and then all of the interior work can begin. “There were 136 jobs created last year because of this project, and there are more than 100 people working on the new terminal right now,” said Ryks. “During construction and once the new facility is built, the airport truly is an economic engine for this region.”
Kraus-Anderson Construction Company is the Construction Manager that has been coordinating the 40-plus contractors who have been working on the project so far.
The terminal will also help strengthen the region’s aviation sector, including Cirrus Design, the 148th Fighter Wing, Northstar Aerospace, Monaco Air and Lake Superior College’s Minnesota Center for Advanced Aviation.
Designed by architectural firm Reynolds, Smith, and Hills, Inc., in conjunction with Stanius Johnson, the new terminal will allow for greatly improved passenger comfort and more amenities than the current terminal could since post-9/11 Department of Homeland Security and FAA requirements were put in place. It will also be much more efficient in all aspects, from the flow of foot traffic to the heating and cooling of the building.
“We’re seeing excellent growth in utilization of air service out of Duluth, with year-to-date passengers up 18 percent,” said Ryks. “But being able to better accommodate our travelers and our carriers in the future is key to the airport’s ongoing success.”
The airport will remain fully operational throughout the project, which is slated for completion in late 2012.
About Duluth International Airport
Allegiant Air offers two weekly nonstop flights to Las Vegas and two weekly nonstop flights to Orlando; Delta offers seven daily nonstop flights to Minneapolis/St. Paul and two daily nonstop flights to Detroit; and United Express offers twice daily nonstop flights to Chicago.