Long Beach Airport Modernization

Paul Dessau, EIT, David M. Schwegel, PE, PTOE

Paul Dessau

The “Green” Long Beach Airport Modernization boosts terminal square footage, improves parking capacity, and elevates the travel experience for the 3.0 million annual passengers that use the airport. Key elements of the modernization include the following projects: (1) Air Carrier Ramp (from asphalt to concrete) ($34 million), (2) Terminal ($45 million), and (3) Parking Garage ($62 million), for a total modernization cost of $141 million. HNTB is assisting with the design of the Air Carrier Ramp while HOK is designing the terminal.

This modernization, described as a “Green Airport Program”, includes a “Neighborhood Protection Program” 2 element with heavy emphasis on environmental preservation. The airport project just cleared a major legal environmental challenge related to the air quality and noise elements of the EIR. Among the environmental preservation elements is the incorporation of new utilities to reduce emissions from aircraft and ground service equipment.

David Schwegel

Due to factors affecting the nation’s economy and, in particular, the aviation industry, the Long Beach Airport identified a “phased” approach to construction and financing of both the parking structure and terminal improvements.  This approach insures that the Airport meets the needs of its customers and maintains financial viability into the future.

Project goals include: (1) enhance passengers’ travel experience and (2) conform to current City of Long Beach Noise Compatibility Ordinance. Conde Nast ranks airports in terms of quality of passenger experience based on passenger surveys. Long Beach currently ranks within the top 10 nationwide. The modernization seeks to boost this rank to number 1. The noise ordinance limits aircraft quantities to 41 carrier aircraft (weighing more than 75,000 pounds), and 25 commuter aircraft (weighing less than 75,000 pounds) between the hours of 7:00 AM and 10:00 PM.

Trailer facilities, containing hold rooms, and concession facilities exist behind the old terminal. These will be replaced in connection with the remodeling of the newer sustainable terminal. This remodel adds 34,750 square feet for a total square footage of 73,770. Much of the new space goes toward modernization of the gate area which includes 4 gates in the south and 7 in the north. The modernization also reallocates up to 8,940 square feet of the existing space for a consolidated passenger security-screening checkpoint (SSCP), provided the additive alternate bids are within the Airport’s budget.

The new facilities will attain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification based on sustainability features. Such features include recycled building materials, strategic shading, photovoltaic panels, specialized lighting controls, low flow plumbing fixtures and state-of- the-art glazing technologies.

The Terminal improvements break ground in December 2010. The projected completion date is mid 2013. The front of the historic terminal building and the arrival/departure lane configurations will remain unchanged.

Although, not included in any of the current projects, a consolidated ground transportation center (GTC) is planned for the distant future.  The GTC will house busses, taxis, shuttles, and a possible remote check-in and bag-drop facility for passengers.  This project will most likely commence following completion of the first Phase Terminal Improvements.

The project also increases the airports parking capacity by adding 1,989 structure spaces and 250 surface spaces. These parking facilities are scheduled to open on 11/11/11.  These additions boost the overall airport parking capacity to 3,250 spaces, and bring the overall parking facilities closer to the main terminal buildings. The parking modernization also phases out the remote parking lot eliminating the need for shuttle vehicles. Solar panels for power generation are also included within the overall parking scheme as part of the modernization.

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Project questions may be directed to Senior Civil Engineer Jeffrey A. Sedlak, PE (jeffrey.sedlak@longbeach.gov). Article questions may be directed to Paul Dessau, EIT (paul@nccn.net, 530-346-6078) or David M. Schwegel, PE, PTOE (davidmschwegel@aol.com, 425-466-5677).

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