Anchorage airport project should be done next summer

Posted: Friday, August 08, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) A new concourse under construction at Anchorage's international airport is on track to be finished next summer, airport and state Transportation Department officials said Wednesday.

Originally scheduled to be done last summer, the 447,000-square-foot Concourse C is the centerpiece of an airport makeover that is running years behind schedule and hundreds of millions of dollars over its original cost estimate.

Its total projected cost stands at $408 million, up from a $230 million forecast when work began in 1999 at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, said Dave Eberle, the state Transportation Department official who's managing the job.

Factors contributing to the higher costs include a flawed design, a decision to start construction before permits were in hand, an expansion of the project and security changes in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

About $100 million of the cost overrun is related to seismic upgrades that were not anticipated at the outset of the project, Eberle said.

The project is being funded with airport revenue bonds that will be repaid by airport tenants. Lawmakers during the last legislative session approved $76 million more in bonds to pay for the project.

That provided enough money to complete the concourse. Eberle said the Transportation Department will ask for permission to issue more bonds to cover the cost of the seismic work.

The airport is owned by the state, but is self-funded.

The new concourse will house nine jet gates, a ticketing area, a baggage claim, a security screening hall, offices and operations support space.

The glass, siding and other exterior parts of the building are expected to be completed by late summer or early fall. Then workers will finish the interior through the fall and winter.

Once the bulk of the structural work is done, airlines, vendors and other businesses that will lease space in the concourse will begin finishing their areas. That work should start around December or January, Eberle said.

All the construction is expected to be done by May 1, he said.

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