May 6, 2013

Work on new Wichita airport terminal, parking garage on schedule, officials say

Work is on schedule at the new Mid-Continent Airport terminal, airport officials said Monday.

Work is on schedule at the new Mid-Continent Airport terminal, airport officials said Monday.

Key Construction crews are overseeing the installation of structural steel that “should be completed and topped-out in early summer,” Victor White, the city’s director of airports, wrote in an e-mail.

And work should begin shortly on the new parking garage and rental facility, a $40 million project that will include about 1,600 parking spaces along with new surface parking and covered rental car pickup and drop-off. The terminal and garage should be completed in 2015.

Mid-Continent’s third terminal, a $101.5 million project dubbed ACT 3 for Air Capital Terminal 3, will be able to handle 2 million passengers annually at 12 gates, with expansion possible to 16 gates that can accommodate an additional 400,000 passengers annually.

Each gate will have passenger-loading jet bridges accommodating a wide range of aircraft, from smaller jets to 757s.

Ground was broken in September for the facility. Planning for the new terminal began in 2001 with various groups, including the Wichita City Council, city boards, county and state officials and national transportation officials.

The Wichita Airport Authority voted in October 2004 to move forward, a process that bogged down over seven years until the city agreed last year to solicit bids.

And then the project bogged down again. City staff members found last spring that the initial low bidder, a team headed by Wichita-based Dondlinger Construction at $99.4 million, did not make a good-faith effort to land enough federally required disadvantaged-business subcontractors for the project. Without such a good-faith effort, the Federal Aviation Administration stood ready to pull its grant, effectively killing the project.

So a four-month appeals process began that concluded in July, when the City Council overturned Dondlinger’s final appeal and awarded the project to the next low bidder, a team led by Wichita-based Key Construction at $101.5 million.

Crossland Construction is the general contractor for the parking garage project and should begin work in about a month, White said.

During the garage construction, short-term and long-term parking lots will be reduced in size and altered as work is phased in through the area. The airport will issue regular advisories on parking changes as the work progresses, White said, including on its website, on Facebook and on Twitter.

To make parking smoother during the construction, city officials suggest that customers arrive early, use shuttles, use the cellphone lot on Air Cargo Road to pick up travelers, plan ahead and be patient.

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