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July 18, 2018

Sea-Tac arrivals facility starting to take shape

Photo by Benjamin Minnick [enlarge]
Crew are reconfiguring gates at Concourse A and installing an elevated, secure pedestrian corridor.

The heat is on at Sea-Tac Airport to finish one of its biggest projects: the International Arrivals Facility.

Port of Seattle spokesman Perry Cooper said seven new international airlines started service in the last two years and annual passenger traffic is headed toward its eighth straight record.

Cooper said arriving international passengers can wait for as much as two hours in a corridor in the South Satellite.

Relief is expected in mid-2020 when the IAF opens, but that's about six months later than originally planned.

Cooper said the IAF has been delayed by construction market forces, discovery of PCBs in the soil and other factors.

The port in May appointed an independent panel to look into the delays, and up to $146 million in cost overruns. The panel is expected to report on its findings in August to the Port of Seattle Commission.

Cooper said the project is now expected to cost between $790 million and $830 million.

Clark Construction Group is about 15 percent finished with the 450,000-square-foot multi-level facility that will wrap around the east side of Concourse A, adjacent to the parking garage. It will be about four times bigger than the existing space for incoming international flights, and double capacity to 2,600 passengers per hour.

The IAF will increase the number of international gates from 12 to 20, and bag claim carousels from four to seven. Each new carousel will be three times larger than an existing carousel.

International passengers will arrive from the South Satellite and from gates in Concourse A. Only the South Satellite is currently used for incoming international fights.

Crews are reconfiguring gates on Concourse A to also handle international flights and are installing a “sterile” security corridor that will route those passengers to the IAF. Work is being performed sequentially, with construction closing two gates at a time.

From the South Satellite, passengers will travel across a 760-foot-long pedestrian bridge and over Concourse A to customs inside the IAF.

Crews are clearing a spot in the north cargo area to build the main span of the metal and glass bridge.

Cooper said the bridge will likely be installed in spring or summer 2019. It will be picked up at night and moved down a runway at 2 mph, he said.

Prefabricating the bridge will reduce the installation time to seven days.

The bridge will sit 85 feet above the taxiway, enough clearance for a 747 aircraft.

The IAF's design-build group includes architecture firms Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and The Miller Hull Partnership. Engineers are Arup (mechanical/electrical/plumbing), KPFF (structural) and MKA (civil). Schlaich Bergermann Partner is the bridge designer.

Sea-Tac is the ninth busiest airport in the U.S. It had 46.9 million passengers last year and is projected to handle 49.2 million this year and 66 million by 2034.