The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has broken ground on a new $26m air traffic control tower at Tucson International Airport in Pima County, Arizona.
The 250ft new tower will be more than double the height of the current 55-year old tower and will provide air traffic controllers with better airfield views, making it easier to determine the positions of aircraft on the ground, as well as in the surrounding airspace.
The new tower will be located on top of a 13,000ft² base building, which will feature computer equipment, administrative offices and a backup power system to automatically activate in the event of a commercial power outage.
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: "This project is a great example of the FAA’s commitment to continually reinvesting in our nation’s transportation infrastructure."
"Improving our facilities and making them as environmentally friendly as possible helps to maintain a cutting-edge transportation system and makes the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars."
FAA administrator Michael Huerta said: "The new tower will make a safe airport even safer while providing our hard-working controllers with greatly improved working conditions."
The new tower features several environmental features, which will reduce the facility’s energy and water uses. These include triple-pane windows, motion detectors for the low-energy indoor lighting and a light-coloured roof to reflect the sun’s heat away from the building will also be part of the building and reduce the energy usage.
According to FAA, the overall project is expected to cost approximately $42m, including computer equipment, electronics, fire suppression systems, heating and air conditioning.
The new facility is expected to be operational in 2017.