Pittsburgh International Airport’s New Terminal Goes Vertical With Local Steel

Sept. 29, 2022
The airport’s Terminal Modernization Program reaches a key milestone as steel placement and roadwork get underway.

The Pittsburgh region’s new front door is beginning to take shape. 

The new terminal project reached an important milestone in its four-year construction path this month when the first vertical steel beams and trees, which will make up the frame of the 811,000 square foot terminal, were put in place. 

“This is an exciting time, where the frame of Pittsburgh’s new front door is becoming a visual reality,’’ said Christina Cassotis, CEO of the Allegheny County Airport Authority, which operates and manages Pittsburgh International Airport.

“When the new facility opens in 2025, the airport will reflect the beauty of the region and will improve the customer experience for everyone who calls the Pittsburgh region home by cutting the time to go from curb to gate in half, reducing and stabilizing operating costs, and being a model of sustainability, safety, and security in the 21st Century.’’ 

The $1.4 billion project – built for Pittsburgh and by Pittsburgh – broke ground last October and work progressed on the foundation. With foundational work complete in most sections of the terminal footprint, vertical steel work is underway near the existing X-shaped midfield terminal, which first opened in October 1992. The new terminal will continue that cutting-edge legacy by considering the seismic shifts in the industry such as 9/11, pandemics, and passengers using mobile phones to check in and board airplanes. The airport will continue to benefit from the 30-year-old X-shaped midfield terminal which has been copied by airports in Mumbai and Abu Dhabi.  

The new terminal is on track to be at least LEED Silver Certified as part of its sustainability plans.

“This is an airport built for and by Pittsburgh with a regional economic impact of $2.5 billion,” said Paul Hoback, Chief Development Officer. “The steel beams are being fabricated just a few miles down as part of the thousands of jobs created with this project.”

In addition to a new passenger processing terminal, the modernization of PIT will also include a Multi-Modal Complex for ground transportation and parking with more than 3,000 spaces – triple the number of existing covered spaces – and a new road configuration.

More than 80 percent of the work on the airport modernization is being done by local firms and local materials are being used as well. The 38 trees that will support the roof and upper floors of the new terminal are being fabricated just miles from the airport in Ambridge, Beaver County. Some 16,000 tons of steel are being used in the project. The steel work will also require 182,000 connecting bolts, 50,000 linear feet – about 9.5 miles – of field welding. 

Note: Work on the road system is underway and over the next two years there will be temporary changes and lane reductions as four new bridges are built to accommodate the new system. The airport is urging all passengers to allow extra time to get to and from the airport. 

Passengers who use taxis, ride share vehicles, or the Airport Flyer bus, should be advised that the commercial curb roadway heading to the terminal has temporary lane restrictions and may experience short stoppages to traffic in non-peak times for bridge replacement. And in later next month, the return to terminal roadway will shift and all traffic will be directed to the stop sign where the road meets the main airport access road.