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City airport on time, budget; New terminal to improve capacity

May 06, 2019
The Brownsville Herald


The project to build a new terminal building at the Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport is on schedule and on budget, according to airport director Bryant Walker.

Not even rain has slowed things down, as crews have been able to work on steel fabrication, drainage rerouting and other aspects of construction not dependent on good weather, he said. The terminal project officially got underway on Dec. 7, Walker said.

The airport’s short-term parking lot west of Amelia Earhart Drive/Minnesota Avenue has been ripped out. In its place, crews recently began pouring concrete for the pilings that will support the slab forming part of the foundation of the new terminal. The cost of construction is $43.8 million and the project should be complete in the fourth quarter of 2020, Walker said.

The current inconvenience to the public due to construction won’t get any worse, he noted.

“There will be no more traffic reorganization or anything like that,” Walker said. “This is how it will be for the next 15 months or so. It’s going to go really fast.”

He said the airport is shooting drone footage of the project and has time-lapse cameras running “so we’ll have a very good record of construction, which is really good to have.”

Walker said the new terminal will greatly improve the airport’s capacity for handling flights and passengers, noting that the existing terminal is too small to handle two 737s at the same time. The larger terminal will allow the airport to court airlines that use the 737 or other large planes, he said.

“Our capacity is limited and we can’t put that many people in the gate area,” Walker said. “With the new terminal we can fit as many as four (aircraft) simultaneously. It allows us to go after different airlines that only have those larger aircraft.”

In the meantime, the airport is taking care of business, such as seal-coating and restriping the primary runway, which was finished about a month ago. At the April 16 Brownsville City Commission meeting, the airport got permission to seal-coat and restripe its secondary active runway.

“With the seal-coating and restriping, those runways will be good for several years while we finish up the terminal and start planning for other development,” Walker said. “Right now, everything is set up and going according to plan.”

BY STEVE CLARK STAFF WRITER


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