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by Irwin Rapoport

As any air traveller who has been to Toronto Pearson International Airport in recent years can attest, the airport is undergoing a $4.4 billion Airport Development Program.


Terminals 1, 2 now primary focus in $4.4B program


As any air traveller who has been to Toronto Pearson International Airport in recent years can attest, the airport is undergoing a $4.4 billion Airport Development Program.

The development program began in 1998 and will continue into 2008, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Toronto Pearson is Canada’s busiest airport and the size and efficiency of it operations affects air travel at major airports across the country.

“We are building up a capacity and the current infrastructure does not serve its purpose,” said John Iannone, director, terminal development project.

“Terminal 1 was way overtaxed for what it was intended and the facility itself, built in 1964, was ready to either make major renovations or be demolished and rebuilt.”

“Similarly for Terminal 2,” he added. “It opened in 1974, so the infrastructure needed replacement. It has been costly to maintain and it definitely was not serving the changing needs of airport operations.”

Toronto Pearson occupies approximately 4,500 acres, which includes three terminals, five runways, various airport facilities and airline hangers, and many commercial buildings, including a hotel and offices.

Construction crews broke ground in 1998 for what eventually became the new Terminal 1 — a project that will be completed in three phases.

“The first stage was built around an already existing Terminal 1,” said John Iannone, director, terminal development project.

“We opened it and then demolished the old Terminal 1. Now we are continuing with second stage.”

The new terminal opened on April 6, 2004 with 24 new gates.

“We built the whole processor and liner that encompasses all of stage 2 and even part of the future stage 3. The entire program for stages 1 and 2 is in the order of $3 billion. We’re about 80 per cent complete for stage 2, which will open another 26 gates,” Iannone said.

Stage 2 will open to the public in January 2007, but an opening date has not been picked yet.

Stages 1 and 2 are being built under a construction management contract — a joint venture of PCL/Aecon — which has both firms managing the trades on-site and scheduling and coordinating their activities. GTAA hired the architects and subcontractors directly.

Some construction problems arose for stage 1 during the installation of caisson footings.

“Rocks and very large boulders caused a bit of delay, but we opened when we planned to,” Iannone said.

“Stage 2 ran exactly on the schedule developed two years ago.”

The GTAA’s board of directors has not yet given approval for stage 3, but this stage incorporates the fate of the existing Terminal 2 building, which houses Air Canada transborder operations and the operations of its airline partners travelling to the United States.

Terminal 2 is scheduled to be demolished starting in April 2007, with its operations transferred to new facilities in Terminal 1.

A key element for all construction at Toronto Pearson was the sequencing of construction, a process mapped out in 1997-98. While the SARS outbreak and September 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. altered the construction schedule when demand for travel dropped, estimated demand for services is now increasing and putting its stamp on the pace of development.

The tender documents for demolition of Terminal 2 are being prepared now and could be made public this December/January.

The demolition has been estimated in the $25 million-plus range.

Another $50 million is being budgeted to create up to two million-square-feet of concrete apron surface to be placed on part of the former Terminal 2 site.

Should stage 3 be approved for the Terminal 1 project, the terminal would occupy space on the former Terminal 2 site.

A concrete tower — the lobby for a proposed four-to-six storey parking structure capable of handling between 4,000 and 5,000 cars — is under construction and should be completed by mid-August.

Designed by NORR and being built by VANBOTS, the tower connects with Viscount Station via a pedestrian bridge across Viscount Road.

“The garage is in the preliminary design stage right now,” said Ted Zander, the GTAA’s general manager, construction services, noting that NORR is also providing the design for the garage.

“We are looking at ramp locations, how to get from floor-to-floor, the parking layout, spaces and a big part of the preliminary investigations will centre on the feasibility of pre-cast concrete versus cast-in-place.”

The GTAA may put out expressions of interest for a general contractor sometime in the fall.

“I hope to begin construction by the spring of 2007, with completion before the end of 2008,” said Zander.

He added another multi-level parking garage is being planned, one that could be built seven to 10 years from now. This would be built in the 6B area.

“There is no other area to open up for more staff parking,” said Zander. “Terminal 3 garage is pretty much at capacity and the Terminal 1 garage still has some room.”

The 6A area is slated for possible commercial development based on the GTAA master plan.

“The area that surrounds the APM station is currently under review as we look at all airport land use and consider development projects and other potential uses,” said Scott Armstrong, GTAA’s manager, media relations.

The GTAA’s board of directors will base its decisions concerning future development on passenger traffic and demand for services.

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