Design for $1.1 billion Pittsburgh airport remodel unveiled

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh officials unveiled proposed designs Wednesday for a planned $1.1 billion renovation of the city’s airport, including plans to make departures faster and the trek through airport security shorter.

The Allegheny County Airport Authority released the drawings and a video of the planned renovations— a new two-level building— at Pittsburgh International Airport Wednesday. The facility scheduled to open in 2023 will be financed with bonds funded by revenue from airlines, concessions and parking as well as natural gas drilling.

Airport and county officials said the renovation approved in 2017 is needed to reflect the growth of Pittsburgh’s economy. Crews are slated to break ground later this year between the C and D concourses adjacent to the current airside terminal.

“This is a facility that truly reflects the growing Pittsburgh region and the renaissance that is ongoing here, including at the airport,” County Executive Rich Fitzgerald wrote in an emailed statement. “The story of this airport is really a story about moving our region forward - about creating new jobs, retaining ones that are already here and maximizing our assets for the highest and best use for our citizens without saddling local taxpayers with the bill.”

The design features a rolling roof to resemble the city’s rolling hills and was primarily created by award-winning architect Luis Vidal, who designed Heathrow Airport T2 in London. The San Francisco-based engineering firm Gensler and Omaha-based firm HDR also contributed to the designs.

Vidal said Wednesday that the new design should cut the time for a passenger to get to their gate in half.

In addition to the roof, the building will also feature large windows, high ceilings, natural light and green space elements, officials said. Some details will be hashed out in the next few months including where to put bathrooms and what the check-in kiosks will look like.

Officials said the building changes will hopefully make air travel more streamlined for Pittsburgh passengers, eliminating an underground train. The top floor of the new terminal will be dedicated to departures, and people not checking bags will be able to get to security quickly and descend to their terminals.

Arrivals will be routed in a different direction and will include a larger meet and greet area for people meeting their loved ones at the airport, according to the renderings released Wednesday.