Airport design problems cause eight-month delay

Posted: Thursday, November 30, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Redesigning a $90 million expansion at Anchorage's international airport so that the new terminal meets earthquake standards will delay the project at least eight months and cost several million dollars, state transportation officials said Wednesday.

At an airport press conference, state officials provided more details on why the design of Concourse C falls short of complying with Anchorage's seismic codes.

The city typically doesn't work with design contractors until after they apply for construction permits, said Dave Eberle, the Transportation Department's head of the central region.

Had design discussions with the city begun earlier, ''I think we would have caught some of the issues early on,'' Eberle said.

Ron Watts, Anchorage's chief building official, said the city typically does not allow those discussions until after permits are filed.

McCool Carlson Green Architects, Coffman Engineers Inc. and Kiewit Construction Co. are the contractors for the airport project.

Mike Carlson, co-owner of McCool Carlson, agreed that more communication with the city before seeking a permit might have helped. He was the only contractor who would comment Wednesday.

The project involves building a new Concourse C. The state is targeting Alaska Airlines as the main tenant. The state razed the old concourse almost a year ago, in part because of concerns it couldn't withstand an earthquake.

The new Concourse C was supposed to be completed by late summer 2002 but now won't be ready until at least spring 2003, Eberle said Wednesday. Delays and potential building modifications will drive up constructions costs, perhaps by $4 million or $5 million, he said.

A $10 million state insurance policy should cover the budget overrun, he said.

The city and state have each hired Outside consultants to review the design, and they're using computer modeling to see how the concourse would survive earthquakes.

The city hopes to approve the construction permit in the next few weeks, which would allow workers to begin erecting the building's steel frame.

The new Concourse C is part of a $230 million airport makeover that includes improvements to roads, ramps and parking lots. The concourse will expand the domestic terminal by more than 300,000 square feet.

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