Portland International Airport (PDX) is undergoing a major expansion and upgrade programme called PDXNext in order to optimise efficiency and enhance the passenger experience.

The Port of Portland is undertaking the project at an estimated cost of $2bn. PDXNext comprises five key construction projects, which include a $950m core terminal infrastructure redevelopment, a $215m Concourse E expansion, $282m parking additions and rental car facility, a $100m Concourse B redevelopment, and a $67m quick turnaround facility.

Upon completion in 2025, the terminal infrastructure redevelopment will improve the airport’s passenger handling capacity to 34 million.

The project is expected to generate approximately 1,250 jobs while making the airport 50% more energy-efficient.

PDXNext programme details

The core terminal infrastructure redevelopment includes the improvement of terminal infrastructure in order to optimise the lifespan of the existing facilities and the expansion of security checkpoints to ensure stable passenger flow and improved airline services.

The renovated passenger entry terminal will double the size of the ticketing and lobby area. It will have nature-infused interiors and also include upgrades to the seismic performance of the building to make it earthquake-resilient.

The terminal will feature a roof spanning 400,000ft² (37,161.2m²) that will be built from locally sourced wood. The roof will stretch across the expanded lobby and ticket areas, with lights being placed to mimic sun rays peeking through the evergreen forests of Oregon.

Concourse A was demolished due to ageing infrastructure and crowded hold rooms.

Concourse B details

Opened in December 2021, Concourse B was expanded by 18,000ft² (1,672.25m²) and houses Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air.

The Concourse B renovation project included the recommissioning of Gate 4 and the upgrade of passenger concessions and amenities, as well as new food and beverage options such as Good Coffee and Screen Door. It has more than 8,900ft² (826.8m²) of south-facing windows and offers more than 500 seats for passengers.

The PDXNext programme also added a consolidated rental car facility occupying 1.63 million ft² (151,432m²) and up to 2,400 new close-in parking spaces. A dedicated area for rideshare pick-up was built to reduce traffic congestion. It was opened in November 2021 and serves 11 rental car partners.

The newly opened, two-level quick turnaround facility houses fuelling stations, a car wash, and on-site storage for rental cars.

The extension project also includes improvements to the airside facilities and modifications to the baggage handling systems.

Concourse E extension details

Completed in July 2020, the 148,000ft² Concourse E expansion created room for six new gates at the north end of the terminal for Southwest Airlines’ passengers and expanded the concourse by 830ft to the east. Concession nodes have been placed to enhance wayfinding across the concourse.

Alaska Air Group and Southwest Airlines, which are the two largest carriers at PDX, were located on the southside of the airport terminal and the majority of the passengers were using the southern side of the terminal.

The concourse’s extension and Southwest’s relocation have helped in evening out passenger use of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security screening checkpoints, baggage handling systems, and ticket lobby facilities.

The two-level building’s window walls allow more natural daylight into the concourse while offering sweeping views of Mount Hood. The expansion also improved the seismic resiliency of the concourse, which is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certified.

The new expanded Concourse E provides faster Wi-Fi and additional power outlets with charging ports. It houses new food and retail options including Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen, Evergreens, Jamba, Juliett, Screen Door, Your Northwest Travel Mart and The Tillamook Market, Calliope, Starbucks, Stumptown, and Tender Loving Empire.

Construction timeline

The quick turnaround facility was opened in October 2018. Construction on the Concourse E expansion commenced in 2017 and completed in July 2020.

Groundwork for the construction of the new main terminal began in March 2020 and will continue until 2024. The expanded and renovated Concourse B was opened in December 2021.

Construction on the additional parking lots and rental car facility was completed and opened in November 2021.

Key improvement projects under the PDXNext programme are expected to be completed by 2025.

Contractors involved

ZGF Architects, an architecture firm based in the US, provided architectural and interior design and space planning services for the terminal core redevelopment part of the project. The new designs were released in October 2020.

Swedish construction company Skanska was awarded a $151m contract by Port of Portland in October 2017 to manage the Concourse E expansion and other upgrade works at the Portland International Airport.

The contract for the PDX terminal core redevelopment part of the PDXNext project was awarded to a joint venture (JV) of Skanska, and Hoffman Construction, an Oregon-based construction company, in September 2022. Hoffman also rebuilt Concourse B at the airport.

Timberlab (formerly Swinerton Mass Timber), a local construction company, was selected for the supply of mass timber for the terminal core redevelopment. The company also provided design-assist services as part of the contract.

KPFF Consulting Engineers, a civil engineering services provider based in the US, served as the structural engineer. CadMakers, a construction technology consultant based in Canada, offered digital fabrication services.

Mammoet, a heavy lifting company, supported the Hoffman-Skanska JV by providing lifting services to install and support roof cassettes in place.

Architecture firms Hennebery Eddy Architects and Fentress Architects partnered to provide architecture and design services for the Concourse E extension and improvements to existing facilities. The contract was worth $215m.

Interface Engineering, an engineering solutions provider, was subcontracted by Hennebery Eddy Architects to work on the terminal balancing and Concourse E expansion.

Carleton Hart Architecture (CHA) collaborated with K2 Security Consultants for the expansion and replacement of PDX’s security camera systems. It also performed improvements to the cooling and new ventilation for network rooms.

Architecture firms YGH Architecture and PGAL were selected by the Port of Portland to design the new parking and rental car facility. Merryman Barnes, an architecture firm, also provided design services for the facility.

YGH partnered with J.E. Dunn, a construction company, for the parking facility’s construction.

REFA Steel Erectors, a steel erecting company, was selected for the structural steel erection of the Concourse E extension.

GRI, a geotechnical and pavement engineering solutions provider based in the US, provided geotechnical design services, subsurface investigations, and seismic engineering services.

PAE Consulting Engineers, a mechanical and electrical engineering design firm, and Arup, an engineering consulting firm, provided mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) design services.

Northwest Engineering Service, an engineering services firm, developed the owner’s project requirements and commissioning plan for the MEP equipment.

3D InFusion, a provider of computer-aided design and engineering support services; Mayer/Reed, a landscape architecture firm; and Burns & McDonnell, an engineering, architecture, construction, and consulting solutions provider, are some of the other contractors involved in the project.

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