The Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) is located in Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida. Its passenger terminal is being expanded to maximise capacity and offer passengers more facilities and services. The expansion project represents the second largest public works project in the history of Lee County.
Lee County Port Authority (LCPA) is developing the project with an estimated investment of $331m. Construction on the project began in October 2021 and the expanded terminal is expected to be operational in 2025.
The RSW airport terminal expansion will help in meeting the increased passenger traffic that has reached pre-Covid levels of more than ten million passengers a year. It aims to improve the airport passenger experience by reducing passenger wait times, improving Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint activities, increasing post-security offerings, connecting concourses, and adding amenities.
The expansion is also intended to help promote travel and tourism in Florida, as well as boost the local economy by creating job opportunities.
RSW terminal expansion project details
The terminal expansion project at Southwest Florida International Airport will involve consolidating three existing TSA checkpoints into a centralised 16-lane configuration. It will include remodelling a 164,000ft² area within the terminal and adding 117,000ft² of new area, which will comprise new walkways to connect the terminal’s three concourses, the concessions area and other facilities.
The new TSA security checkpoints will feature clear and dynamic signage to direct passengers to correct the lanes, which will be fitted with new acoustical flat ceiling, diffuse lighting, and vinyl tile flooring. The checkpoint area’s large cantilever wooden beams will conceal TSA cameras and lighting.
The expansion work will be undertaken in 16 phases and involve renovating the new Airport Communications Centre, adding TSA administrative spaces and non-public airport administrative spaces, and expanding the seating and concessions within the business Sky Lounge. The project also includes the refurbishment of existing checkpoints and restrooms with the inclusion of a pet relief area.
In addition, a standalone remote loading dock building is being developed, as well as elevated ceiling heights, new terminal finishes, and advertising displays. The new terminal finishes will include a 60ft-tall ceiling that integrates fire protection lights and public address system.
Construction of the RSW terminal expansion
The columns of the remote loading dock building were completed and construction of the concrete block walls began in January 2023. The concrete roof at the terminal facing is currently being demolished, with floor installations having begun at the Airport Communications Center.
As of January 2023, demolition of the former human resources department area had been completed, while the construction of two offices within the development division area was 90% complete.
Funding for the expansion project
The RSW airport terminal expansion project is being funded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs), airport revenue bonds, and construction grants from LCPA.
FDOT provided $77.9m of funding, while LCPA granted $224.9m.
Contractors involved in the project
Engineering company SNC-Lavalin is providing design and construction administration services for the RSW airport terminal expansion project under a five-year master services contract awarded in 2016. The contract was extended until 2025 due to a delay in the project’s construction. It is estimated to be worth more than $26m.
US-based design firm Atkins North America, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, was appointed as the project consultant.