John Glenn International Airport receives US$2 billion expansion approval

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The John Glenn International Airport expansion project has overcome yet another hurdle after receiving approval for the initial construction bid package. The CRAA Board of Directors granted approval this week for the US$2 billion project. The proposed facility would modernize a space that’s been in use since 1958. It has seen many renovations and changes, most drastically as CMH adapted to post-9/11 security and facility changes. Many parts of the airport are nearing the end of their useful life. The airport serves 33 counties in central and southeast Ohio and acts as a medium hub.

The expansion plan approved by the airport’s board will include a spacious 36-gate terminal and a central marketplace with new restaurant options. Additionally, it will have just one security checkpoint, instead of the three that the airport has now. The new terminal will be built where a pair of its parking lots sit now. Construction is expected to start later this year. Furthermore, airport authorities are launching a new website called “CMH Next” to keep travelers in the know on its progress.

Details on the John Glenn International Airport expansion

The terminal will also include a new pedestrian bridge that gives passengers an easy way to walk to the rental car center and a new 5,000-space parking garage.  It will be comprised of five primary components which include a pedestrian bridge, an entry canopy and head house, a marketplace and east and west concourses. The pedestrian bridge will connect the terminal to the CONRAC and parking garage. The canopy will run along the north façade of the terminal and extend over four lanes of traffic. It will feature a 74-foot, cantilevered structure with an exposed back span extending into the headhouse. The east and west concourses will house secondary retail and concession spaces and hold rooms in addition to boarding gates.

Completion date

The new terminal is expected to be completed in 2029. An important note on the funding of the airport is that the project is all being financed without raising taxes according to Joseph Nardone, president and CEO of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority. Nardone said the Airport Authority is able to afford such a massive price tag, because it has been saving money, more precisely, over $200 million so far. Additionally, it is receiving funding from continuing airport operations and from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law that former Ohio Senator Rob Portman helped usher through Congress.

The project team

Last year, Columbus Regional Airport Authority (CRAA) selected Hensel Phelps as its Construction Manager at Risk (CMaR) for the new project. They will work together with Elford to provide preconstruction and construction services for the project. Gensler designed the new 1,000,000 square foot terminal in collaboration with Moody Nolan, a local architect. Once the terminal is completed, the existing terminal will be demolished.

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