Terminal 3 (T3) at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, was opened in June 2012. The 1.9 million square feet terminal was built at a cost of $2.4bn, which was funded by Clark County Department of Aviation.

McCarran airport’s T3 is the largest public works project in the state of Nevada. The project was planned in 2005 and construction began in June 2007.

The new terminal replaced Terminal 2, while it is also expected to relieve traffic congestion at the Terminal 1 and increase the operational flexibility and efficiency of the airport.

The airport ranks among the top ten busiest in the US, with historical passenger traffic recorded as 48 million in 2007. The addition of T3 will allow McCarran airport to support an estimated 53 million passengers annually, while it has created around 600 new jobs.

Construction of McCarran’s Terminal 3

“The construction of T3 took more than six years to complete, employing around 1,800 workers.”

The construction of T3 took longer than six years to complete, employing around 1,800 workers. The site preparation works included the drilling of 1,300 piers, the construction of an underground utility tunnel, tram station and about five kilometres of hydronic piping.

Several other major projects were completed on the compact site, including water distribution, storm and wastewater systems, aircraft ramps, pedestrian bridges and an elevated six-lane roadway separating the arrival and departure passengers, as well as linking T3 with the rest of the airport.

T3’s construction was completed as per the schedule and within the budget.

T3 design and features

McCarran’s 2,300ft-long Terminal 3 was built in a contemporary style and is designed to allow maximum lighting into the interiors, as well as requiring little maintenance. It has angular exteriors, terrazzo floors and around 15,538 square feet of skylights. Apart from the seismic braces at the airside concourse, the building is almost column free.

“The terminal has two USA Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints with 31 lanes, as well as global entry kiosks to ease the US entry process.“

The three-storey terminal building consists of two hallways with access for airside departure gates and landside check-in counters. Service functions of the airport lie in the middle, providing easy and fast access for travellers. The building features several public arts and artefacts from the renowned artists and schoolchildren of Clark County, as well as historical photographs in the customs area.

The automated baggage handling system consists of 16 carousels and a 13km conveyor belt with second generation RFID for easy tracking. The new concession areas have retail shops, restaurants and gaming areas that include close to 300 slot machines.

Other technological features include 1,150 LCD and LED signages, information displays and interactive directories, 1,000 cameras and Wi-Fi internet coverage across the terminal. The screens also display the weather conditions of destination cities.

A 50MW, 100,000 square feet central utility plant powers the new terminal complex and the associated facilities, while the terminal also has an apron, fuelling system and limousine and taxi staging facilities. An eight-storey garage was constructed to create around 6,000 new car parking spaces.

The aircraft alignment process requires very few ground support staff with the new automated aircraft docking systems.

Gate facilities at McCarran Airport’s Terminal 3

The new terminal at McCarran International Airport consists of 14 gates in Concourse E, seven of which will serve the international airlines with the remaining used for domestic passengers. The international gates also have the flexibility to serve as additional domestic gates when necessary.

T3 is connected to the existing 45 gates at Concourse D by an underground airport transit system (ATS), an automated tramway from Bombardier.

McCarran T3 screening / security

Security has been streamlined at T3 and is common for both the international and domestic passengers. The terminal has two USA Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints with 31 lanes, as well as global entry kiosks to ease the US entry process.

T3 can handle the check-ins, baggage claim and security needs of up to 26 gates of the Concourse D through the ATS system, which will relieve traffic congestions during peak periods. The Federal Inspection Services (FIS) facilities can process around 1,600 international passengers every hour.

Check-in facilities at the international airport’s T3

T3 has 32 curbside check-in stations and 130 check-in positions in the ticketing lobby. All check-in areas at the 14 new gates are equipped with kiosks which allow self-baggage tagging and self boarding to reduce the waiting time. The self-boarding gates and common use systems reduce check-in time and enhance operational efficiency.

Contractors for Terminal 3 construction

T3 was designed by PGAL in collaboration with Welles Pugsley Architects. Perini Building acted as the general contractor for the construction, with a contract value of $1.2bn. Bechtel Infrastructure was the construction manager and Walter P. Moore the consultant engineer.

The site improvement works and the garage were completed by McCarthy Building, while Las Vegas Paving built the 12.8km elevated roadway system and Penta Building Group constructed the central utility plant.

The 20,000t structural work was completed by subcontractor SME Steel Contractors and IBA Consultants acted as the façade consultant.