California Construction News staff writer
The largest construction project ever at Sacramento International Airport (SMF) is taking flight.
SMForward, a $1.3 billion expansion project consists of a half dozen improvements including a $140 million pedestrian walkway to connect Terminal B to Concourse B, and add to the train system. It will also include expansions to both Terminal A and Concourse B adding gates and new amenities. There will be a new Terminal B parking garage and a consolidated ground transportation center for taxis and rideshare.
“Construction plans also include a $400 million consolidated car rental facility behind the b parking garage,” said Sacramento International Airport spokesperson Steven Clark.. “It means passengers will no longer have to take a shuttle-they can walk there.”
SMForward is a major milestone for Sacramento, representing the largest construction program in the Airport’s history. This ambitious project is not just an expansion, but a complete transformation of the airport experience for the people of Sacramento and its visitors. The project will bring about significant improvements and upgrades that will enhance the convenience, comfort, and accessibility of the airport for all.
“The airport experience is the first impression many people see when they arrive in Northern California – and the last as they leave,” said Cindy Nichol, director of Sacramento County Department of Airports. “SMForward will change the airport’s skyline, but it also sets the stage for the airport’s growth and our region’s as a whole.”
SMFoward will serve as a catalyst for further development in the region. The project will help Sacramento to be more competitive as a destination, attract more visitors and businesses, and ultimately contribute to the growth of the region.
Designed by Corgan and Fentress Architects, the project will be financed through a combination of federal and state grants, municipal bonds issued by the airport, and user fees.
“Over the next five years, this transformation will create world-class facilities that will enhance our customer’s travel experience while improving crucial infrastructure to meet our growth,” said Nichol. “Our airfield has plenty of capacity, but our parking, concourses, and roadways have several choke points. SMForward will address these issues and create an airport ready to serve the modern passenger.”
SMForward comes as air travel demand in the Greater Sacramento region continues to exceed peer airports in the region after unprecedented impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic. 2022 saw SMF nearly return to pre-pandemic levels with six consecutive years of year-over-year record-breaking passenger growth through 2019. Forecasts show steady passenger growth averaging 4.3 percent annually through 2041, underscoring the need for expansion.
“With record numbers of people traveling through SMF and the region’s growing economy that continues to create new opportunities, Sacramento International Airport is at a crucial intersection,” said Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna, who spoke at Wednesday’s media conference unveiling SMForward. “It is critical to invest in our aviation infrastructure to ensure we can meet the needs of residents and travelers who will make the region an even better place to live, work and visit.”
Construction will be completed in phases between 2024 and 2027.