OKC airport project nearly set to get off the ground

Published: Friday, July 27, 2018 By: Brian Brus Source: The Journal Record

The city’s airport trust took a major step toward a $115 million expansion of Will Rogers World Airport on Thursday, the first major overhaul since 2006.

The trust issued a joint resolution of intent to issue revenue bonds that will fund several improvements at the city airport, the largest of which will be adding a concourse on the east side at a cost of about $85 million.

Airports Director Mark Kranenburg has been preparing for the project since 2013. In January 2015, the Oklahoma City Airport Trust awarded an architectural and engineering contract to design and to develop the plans and specifications. Construction documents are now being prepared and are expected to be approved within two months and put out for bid. The work will commence in 2019 and likely will take about 30 months to complete.

The trust is being advised by PFM Financial Advisors LLC.

The expansion is considered part of the trust’s $252.2 million five-year capital plan. Will Rogers terminal improvements will account for a third of that total, with about 15 percent going into parking facilities and 20 percent for other buildings.

The plan also includes $3.6 million to improve access road signage and $1.5 million for smart-technology system that will tell drivers how much space is available in the airport’s parking garage.

Airports spokeswoman Karen Carney said the last expansion was completed before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon forced changes in airline industry security. It was largely an aesthetic upgrade, she said, to bring a 1967 airport into the 21st century. Will Rogers gained one additional airline gate at the time. The work about to be scheduled will add four gates.

The airline industry overall seems to have rebounded from the 9/11 events: According to data reported this month by the International Air Transport Association, U.S. domestic traffic is trending upward at an annualized rate of around 7 percent, helped by the comparatively strong U.S. economy.

And the latest infrastructure needs study by Airports Council International – North America says U.S. airports need nearly $100 billion in infrastructure by 2021 to accommodate passenger and cargo transport growth, rehabilitate existing facilities and support new aircraft technology.

Read the story at JournalRecord.com

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