Pittsburgh International Airport Celebrates Topping Out of its New Terminal

May 8, 2023
Topping out represents the point in a construction project when the highest point of the building is reached, or the final steel beam is put into place. Construction of the roof of the new terminal began April 13.

Pittsburgh International Airport is raising the roof on its new terminal.

Airport leaders, elected officials, and industry partners gathered Thursday to celebrate the topping out for PIT’s new landside terminal – a key component in the $1.4 billion Terminal Modernization Program. The airport broke ground in October 2021 on the project that also includes one of the largest parking garages in western Pennsylvania and a new airport roadway system.

Topping out represents the point in a construction project when the highest point of the building is reached, or the final steel beam is put into place. Construction of the roof of the new terminal began April 13. As part of the tradition, each of the 120 people gathered at Thursday’s celebration signed the final beam that will be placed atop the terminal roof this summer.

“The Pittsburgh region is already enjoying substantial economic benefits from the new terminal program, which will only multiply as this innovative project continues to take shape,” said Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive. “The new Pittsburgh International Airport will be the anchor for the region as it attracts investment from all over the world.”

The Terminal Modernization Program is scheduled to be completed in 2025 and is receiving no local tax dollars. It is adding nearly 14,300 direct and indirect jobs and generating approximately $2.5 billion in economic activity for the Pittsburgh region. The new terminal is on track to earn at least LEED Silver certification for environmental sustainability. The parking garage will include 3,300 public spaces, much larger than the current garage.

“This project is a manifestation of our mission, and it is being created by and for the people living in western PA with an emphasis on the nature, technology and community of the region,” said Christina Cassotis, CEO of the Allegheny County Airport Authority, which operates and manages Pittsburgh International Airport.

“The new terminal will go further for our community and our passengers to create an innovative and welcoming experience to everyone who walks through here. I thank our community, particularly our elected leaders, for their support to make the idea of a new terminal at PIT a reality,” Cassotis added.

The Terminal Modernization Program has seen its share of milestones so far this year, including:

·       Start of construction of the connector bridge that will link the new terminal to the existing airside terminal. Construction is taking place inside the airside terminal, so new wayfinding has been installed to direct passengers to gates, concessions and other airport amenities.

·       Completion of the foundation for the terminal, and placement of more than half of the mechanically stabilized earth walls for the new roadway system.

·       Start of construction of the parking garage which is being built from precast concrete elements fabricated for the structure by Sidley Precast, based in Youngwood, Pa. in Westmoreland County. 

The new terminal is being built for Pittsburgh and by Pittsburgh, with approximately 90 percent of materials and services coming from local companies.

“Communities all over western Pennsylvania are playing a role in building the new Pittsburgh International Airport. The people who come to work on this project every day are our friends and neighbors, and we can be proud of what they have accomplished so far,” said Paul Hoback, executive vice president and chief development officer for the Allegheny County Airport Authority.

The topping out celebration coincided with Safety Week on the construction site, where workers took part in training and other events to promote safe work habits. At the groundbreaking of the new terminal in October 2021, officials from the Allegheny County Airport Authority and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) signed a first-of-its-kind regional partnership to foster a safe work environment for all project workers.

The collaboration between OSHA, the Airport Authority, prime and trade contractors and the Pittsburgh Building Trades Council aims to reduce construction site hazards, increase sustainability and advance an overall safe, green jobsite for more than 5,500 workers.

Although construction on the TMP is reaching its halfway mark, the project still offers many opportunities for local contractors. Several bid packages will be advertised in the coming months. The months ahead will also bring substantial construction to airport roadways, including lane closures. The public can stay informed of these impacts at flypittsburgh.com/construction.