The Port Columbus International Airport, in Ohio, USA, has undergone major expansion and renovation during recent years. The airport is administered by Columbus Regional Airport Authority who have recently completed an update to the airport’s terminal area master plan.

This update represents a capital program in excess of $500m and includes the construction of a new eight- to ten-gate terminal, relocation of a runway, and construction of a new consolidated rental car facility by 2018.

Workshops were held in October 2006 that focused on the airport’s proposed construction of a new south runway to replace the current south runway, new taxiways, new terminal facilities in the midfield area and other airport improvements.

These improvement projects take into account passenger growth for Port Columbus International Airport at the rate of 4% to 7% annually. Port Columbus is the USA’s 16th largest city, and Port Columbus Airport is currently the 45th busiest airport in the USA.

NORTH CONCOURSE

Completion of the north concourse cost an estimated $24m. This 106,000ft² addition consisted of the construction of a two-storey structure with a partial basement. The steel-framed structure covered a footprint of approximately 30,000ft². The expansion consisted of a baggage claims area, an operations area, and construction of five aircraft gates.

HC Nutting conducted subsurface investigations and provided recommendations for site preparation and pavement design. Moody Nolan Inc provided architectural and engineering services for the project.

ATC TOWER

A new air traffic control tower was constructed at the south-east corner of Sawyer Road and International Gateway (a more central location). The two primary reasons for a new tower were that the existing tower was not located in a position to handle future growth and was outdated in terms of technology. It wasn’t amenable to upgrade given the limited space.

“Completion of the Port Columbus International Airport north concourse cost an estimated $24m.”

The new tower, a 225ft-tall, 39,000ft² building was built on top of a three-storey plinth building with 27,000ft² of office space. The project which was completed in 2003 (ground breaking 2001) cost $24m, which was fully funded with federal dollars.

The tower’s innovative design included the use of three structural cab columns to allow a 120° span of clear vision between columns; 30° angled cab glass to minimise both day and night time glare; and access to cab equipment from behind and under consoles to minimise disturbance during maintenance operations.

CROSSOVER TAXIWAYS

Construction of crossover taxiways across International Gateway will allow aircraft to taxi from north to south on the west side of the airfield in addition to the current easterly access. Numerous other taxiway projects are components of the master plan.

NEW TERMINAL BUILDING

Development and construction of an independent terminal building, west of the current terminal and straddling International Gateway. The new terminal will be built in phases beginning with an eight- to ten-gate complex on the south side of International Gateway.

The terminal will be fully developed up to 34 gates as demand dictates. Construction of the new terminal building will be timed to allow for an opening that coincides with traffic levels of about ten million passengers a year, potentially within the next six to eight years. A new midfield terminal is also under consideration.

THIRD PARALLEL RUNWAY

A third parallel runway will be constructed south of the existing south runway and identical in length to the existing south runway at 10,250ft. This is to improve the safety of airport operations and prevent the possibility of runway incursions.

“The Port Columbus International terminal will be fully developed up to 34 gates as demand dictates.”

PARKING GARAGE EXPANSION PROJECT

In 2000, Port Columbus International Airport completed a project that lasted three years. The 1.3 million square foot parking garage project cost $92m and included a new parking garage in addition to significant roadway, terminal and rental car facility improvements.

The first two levels of the six-level garage accommodate 1,200 rental vehicles and rental companies operating at the airport. The top four levels accommodate 2,800 public parking spaces.

The garage includes a centre light well and moving walkways through a tunnel under the expanded roadway to a 100ft atrium, which connects the garage and the terminal. The new atrium also provides additional entrances to the terminal on both the arrival and departure levels.

NORTH RUNWAY EXTENSIONS COMPLETE

15 years in the planning, the completion of the north runway extension was designed to provide customers of Port Columbus International Airport with a higher level of service. During normal operations, air carriers and their customers will benefit from reduced traffic, shorter taxi times and improved performance.

When it becomes necessary to service a runway, the airport now has a suitable alternate runway to handle air carrier operations. The extensions added 1,000ft at both the east and west ends, bringing the new length to 8,000ft.

RENOVATED FIS FACILITY

The renovated Federal Inspection Services (FIS) facility at Port Columbus International Airport opened in May 2005 (project started in 2003). The $2.2m project modernised the aesthetics and security of the entire area, last updated over 20 years ago, and included expansion that allows for large 767 aircraft to use the airport’s international facility.

“A third parallel runway will be constructed south of the existing south runway.”

The new FIS facility at Port Columbus was one of the first in the US to be updated under post-9/11 security measures.

The renovated facility is connected to gate C46 and includes new security measures, administrative space featuring offices and a break room, holding cells, a lab for testing plant material, and updated aesthetics.

The updated design of the holdroom at gate C46 incorporates a ‘drop’ wall that when down allows the space to be used for international arrivals traffic processed through the FIS but when the wall is raised gate C46 can be used for domestic arrivals.