San Diego County Regional Airport Authority begins construction on New Terminal 1


The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has started working on the New Terminal 1.

The New T1 project includes the replacement of the outdated Terminal 1, improvements to the airfield, improved transportation connectivity to the airport, and a new facility for the airport authority administration.

The New T1 is divided into three components, Terminals & Roadways, Airside Improvements, and a new Administration Building. The Administration Building component will be the first building to be completed within the New T1 program with an anticipated opening date in late 2023. It will be delivered by Sundt Construction, with HOK as the lead architect.

The Terminal & Roadways component will be completed in phases and is a design-build project by Turner-Flatiron, a joint venture with Gensler as lead architect. The first phase will include 19 gates, an elevated departures roadway, outdoor check-in pavilions, a dedicated, on-airport arrivals roadway, and a five-story parking plaza. The earliest opening for the first phase is in mid-2025. The second phase will add 11 gates for a total of 30 gates. The earliest opening for the second phase is in late 2027.

The Airside Improvements component is being delivered by contractor Griffith Company and will allow for more efficient aircraft movements and ground traffic flow for the new terminal. The earliest completion date for all projects within the Airside Improvements component will be mid-2028.

The New T1 will feature pre-and post-security passenger connectors to Terminal 2, a new parking plaza that will provide up to 5,200 parking spaces, an expansive security checkpoint with 13 lanes, an outdoor patio area post-security providing views of the airfield, San Diego Bay and downtown, up to two airline or common-use lounges/clubs, and a children’s play area. Six artists have been commissioned to create integrated, site-specific public art for The New T1 and the façade is being designed by renowned artist James Carpenter.

An important feature of the New T1 project is a three-lane on-airport access roadway that will take traffic from Laurel Street directly to the airport, reducing 45,000 vehicles a day on Harbor Drive. A dual-level roadway and curb front to separate arriving and departing passenger traffic with an elevated departures roadway and curbside check-in will also be integrated. The airport authority has preserved a space for a future transit station, giving the airport even more direct accessibility. Recently, SAN launched all-electric shuttle service between the airport and Old Town Transit Center, providing a convenient, last-mile transit solution.

The entire New T1 project will incorporate energy and water conservation and clear air initiatives. Electric vehicle charging infrastructure, a bicycle and pedestrian path on Harbor Drive, bicycle parking spaces, airfield improvements resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions, an underground fuel-delivery system, and a stormwater capture and reuse system are included in the plans. The New T1, along with the rest of the airport, will be powered by 100 percent renewable, carbon-free electricity. Through these efforts, the airport authority’s goal is to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold certification for the project.

The airport has an economic impact of $12 billion on the region and serves as a critical link to San Diego’s top economic sectors. The total project budget is $3.4 billion and the initial estimate is that the New T1 project will create between 15,000 to 20,000 construction-related jobs.


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