When Pittsburgh International Airport’s new terminal opens in 2025, passengers arriving by car will be able to give their step trackers a break: The airport’s new garage will eliminate a half mile of walking distance from curb to gate.
Construction began mid-April on the project’s 1.14 million square foot, five-level 4,200-space Multi Modal Complex. When completed, the $163 million structure will be one of the largest parking garages in Western Pennsylvania.
The complex, which triples the number of covered spaces from the airport’s existing layout, will serve as a parking garage and rental car facility, with approximately 800 spaces for rental cars and abundant curbside space for ridesharing pickup and drop-off.
Situated northwest of the new terminal, the entrance of the precast garage will be about 300 feet away from the terminal’s front door and connected by a covered walkway, protecting travelers from Pittsburgh’s occasionally unpredictable weather. Enhanced wayfinding signage is also part of the improvements.
“We designed this structure with an intent to enrich the pedestrian experience and create a better destination,” said Rick Lee, implementation manager for the new terminal project. “Simplified design and improved signage ensure navigation to the airport is easy and intuitive.”
Bill Macedo, vice president at Turner Construction, the company leading the MMC construction management team, said the new facility will make it easier to determine where to go, where to park and how to get to the ticket counters, security checkpoints and boarding areas.
“Right now, you see the landside terminal and the airside terminal is in the far distance. So, it will be a very different experience having departures and arrivals directly adjacent to the new terminal, eliminating the need to travel on the people movers and the train,” he said.
Among the time-saving features is a parking guidance system that will help passengers find open parking spots. When drivers pull into the garage, electronic boards will tell them how many spaces are available on each level.
“You will no longer need to endlessly drive up and down aisles in search of that coveted parking space because electronic boards will direct you to floors with open spaces and green lights above available spaces will guide you quickly and efficiently to available parking,” Macedo said.
Another improvement: rental car counters in the customer service building, which doubles as the connection between the new terminal and the garage.
“Having the car agencies, their counters and everything integrated into one area should make the experience of getting your rental car, going to a kiosk and picking up your rental car much more simple,” Macedo said.
The multi-use garage is designed to meet the requirements for Parksmart Bronze certification, the world’s only certification program that defines, measures and recognizes high-performing, sustainable garages. The MMC is also aiming for LEED green building certification.
“We are well underway toward achieving both our LEED certification for the Customer Service Building and Parksmart accreditation for the garage itself,” Macedo said.
Certification includes everything from obtaining materials within 300 miles of the project to workers residing within 75 miles, to what kind of finishes are being used.
“The finishes are all specified to be LEED compliant, limiting volatile organic compounds and ensuring a more sustainable design in material selections, recycled content and regional manufacturing,” Macedo said.
From the start, PIT leaders declared that the new terminal was being built for Pittsburgh by Pittsburgh. Local firm Michael Baker International was selected in 2018 to spearhead the design for the garage, rental car facilities access and parking areas. In February, several area-based companies were selected to provide various packages to help with the construction of the MMC, totaling awards of $146 million:
- McKamish, Inc. – Plumbing and fire protection
- SSM Industries, Inc. – Mechanical
- Wellington Power Corporation – Electrical
- Rycon Construction, Inc. – General trades contractor for the garage and surface parking project.