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May 11, 2018

Panel will review overruns on $830M Sea-Tac project

The Port of Seattle Commission has appointed an independent panel to look into the delays and $146 million in cost overruns on the International Arrivals Facility, which is under construction at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The project — now estimated to cost $830 million — will include a 450,000-square-foot arrivals facility on the east side of Concourse A, a sterile corridor and a 900-foot bridge connecting the South Terminal to the arrivals facility.

(Editor's note: The square footage of the IAF has been updated.)

Most of the work was initially slated to finish in September 2019, but the arrivals facility could take until February 2020 to complete.

The project is one of the first major construction projects in Washington state using a “progressive” design-build contracting method. Under this approach, construction begins while design is still underway, and the ultimate cost isn't known until the project reaches a certain point.

Clark Construction is the design-builder. Other team members include Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, The Miller Hull Partnership, Arup, KPFF, MKA and Schlaich Bergermann Partner, the bridge designer.

According to a port document, the original 2015 target budget was $608.4 million, but that figure rose to $684.4 million due to changes such as an extension of the sterile corridor. The adjusted budget turned out to be insufficient, so in August last year funding was increased again to $790 million.

Once construction started last August, hazardous PCBs were discovered on the site and required costly remediation. Finally, late last year, when the design was near the 90 percent completion mark, new changes were made that added costs and delays.

The overruns brought the new projected cost to $830 million — or $146 million over the $684.4 million adjusted target budget.

The panel will conduct 60-day review and report to the commission on their findings and recommendations. Panel members were selected for experience and technical expertise on large public works projects in challenging environments, such as airports.

The panel members are:

• Ken Johnson, president of Shiels Obletz Johnsen. Johnson managed the design and engineering team for Seattle's central waterfront program, then served as project manager for the $400 million seawall project.

• John Okamoto, a government consultant and former Seattle City Council appointee and chief administrative officer of the Port of Seattle.

• Loren Smith, president of SmithConsult.Global. Smith has worked in global aviation and was involved in Sea-Tac's South Terminal expansion in the 1990s.

• Tina Millan, senior vice president and director of U.S. aviation services for WSP Florida. Millan specializes in managing large-scale infrastructure programs.

Port of Seattle Executive Director Steve Metruck said in a statement that he welcomes the oversight.

“The independent panel will review the staff recommendations before we ask the commission to commit to a final budget and timeline. The project's teams are ready to fully assist the panel in their work,” he said.