Airport Makes Headway On Ramp Project

October 10, 2008
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Gerald R. Ford International Airport’s parking expansion and terminal area improvement project is ahead of schedule and under budget.

Work continues on the 4,900-space, multilevel parking ramp that’s being built directly across from the main terminal building. The ramp will house long- and short-term parking, valet parking and rental cars. Upon its completion, the ramp and surface lots combined will offer more than 10,000 parking spaces. Ford International draws 4,000 to 5,000 vehicles a day and serves 8,000 to 10,000 flying customers and visitors per day, according to Aeronautics Director James Koslosky.

One of the more dramatic features of the ramp will be a 600-foot-long glass canopy of wave-like design connecting the ramp to the terminal building. Improvements will include second-story pedestrian sky bridges and escalator lobbies, a transit station and a vehicle entrance plaza, as well as utility upgrades, roadway modifications, landscaping and streetscaping. As of June, 25 percent of the project was completed. Completion is slated for fall 2009.

“It’s all about customer convenience,” Koslosky said. 

The project is $4 million under its previously estimated $118 million budget, in large part, Koslosky said, because Christman Construction Co. worked with airport officials on identifying some cost-cutting measures that could be taken without altering the design, delaying the start of construction or affecting ongoing operation and maintenance costs. The changes ranged from the elimination of certain items to changes in specifications. 

“Christman has been diligent in working through the phases,” Koslosky said, noting that most of the work is being done by Michigan contractors and subcontractors.

The goal is to have the front end done this fall and to open the curb front to the terminal building by the end of this year, he said. He noted that the project has given the airport the opportunity to replace 50-year-old infrastructure on the grounds, and the new infrastructure will be good for another 50 years.

The project is being paid for through a structured financing plan combining airport revenue bonds, airport revenue and rental car fees. CQ

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