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  • Writer's pictureASCE Utah YMF

A tour of Salt Lake City's new Airport

Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to be shown around the new airport built to accommodate the increasing travel demand in Salt Lake City, Utah. Salt Lake City's existing airport was originally built in the 1960's with terminals being subsequently added over the proceeding decades. The layout that was designed during this period in history did not take into account the increasing growth in population. The rise in commercial aircraft as a means to travel all across the country and the globe could not have been predicted to gain such momentum. With ever an expanding number of gateways being added, this had made it tricky for passengers to navigate their way around around the airport. A new more efficient travel system was required to meet the demands of modern times and therefore the most cost effective method decided upon, was to tear down the existing airport and rebuild it upon the land.

Jacobs' Safety Inspector, Dan Newsome, showed me both the north and south concourses which are currently under construction. The south concourse, which is far ahead in its construction, for good reason, than the north concourse, ties into the existing terminal. The idea is for new gates to open in the south concourse and for passengers to migrate over to the new concourse gradually, as demand increases. In opposition to the 'finger hub' layout that was previously adopted during the 1960's and has been the predominant approach used for airport design for it's efficient use of space; the new layout has a more simplified rectangular layout with room for expansion at opposite ends of each concourse.

An area of the tour I found particularly interesting was exploring what happens behind the scenes, on the ground level, which is below the level which passengers step onto when arriving at the airport. Down below enormous luggage conveyor systems move baggage from the aircraft to the baggage collection carousels. A glimpse behind the scenes really gave me an appreciation for the size of the operation required to ensure 11,000+ passengers have a successful journey arriving into or flying out of Salt Lake City.

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