Portland International Airport (PDX), stretched to its limits and lacking enough space for security operations, is planning a massive $1.3 billion renovation as reported by The Oregonian.
The planned five-year project, if approved by the airlines that operate at the airport, will be the first major overhaul of the terminal since its construction in 1956. The realities of post-9/11 travel—TSA checks, body scanners, endless lines—have been difficult to incorporate into a terminal that was not designed for such needs.
Another issue that PDX—if not all airports—faces is as the tourism industry grows, capacity becomes a concern. Portland, in particular, has been seeing a record-setting amount of visitors over the past years, and the airport is struggling to keep up.
“We have made do with what we could until now,” said Curtis Robinhold, executive director of the Port of Portland, to the Oregonian. “We’re simply running out of capacity to manage the passenger flow we’re getting today, and that we’ll be getting in the days to come.”
The redesign of the terminal will minimize the mixing of arriving and departing passengers to improve circulation, as well as create more open space in the pre-security area. The plan estimates that the airport’s upgrades will be able to accommodate 35 million travelers annually, which is almost double the number of travelers from last year.
Other improvements include implementing structural upgrades to make the building earthquake-resilient and replacing the roof and aging electrical and plumbing systems. A $265 million parking garage expansion is also expected to begin in 2018.
Port of Portland officials are working with the airline carriers, who will be the ones financing the project, to create an acceptable plan. It will be voted on in the fall, and if approved, construction is scheduled to begin in 2020 and completed in stages.