Seattle’s shiny new $1 billion international airport terminal won’t fit enough big, widebody planes it was built to handle after ‘mistake’ — and it will now be retooled at a cost of $78 million
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport paid $1 billion for a botched renovation and may have to pay millions more to fix it, officials say
- The eight-year project concluded last year and aimed to expand the international arrivals facility to 20 large aircraft at a time
- Clark Construction was the company behind the job and denies doing anything wrong
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s shiny new international terminal, costing $1 billion, is a bust because it can’t accommodate as many widebody planes as it was intended to – and it will cost millions to fix the flaw.
The massive renovation to expand the airport’s terminal was intended to accommodate 20 full-sized aircraft at once — but final results in 2022 showed the facility could only accommodate 16, according to the airport operator, the Port of Seattle.
Maryland-based Clark Construction was the company behind the design that is now being reviewed by the port — and that it will cost $78 million to fix.
The port sent a letter to the construction company last year to complain about their shortfall, which is estimated to have led to a 20 percent reduction in capacity for international flights arriving at the airport.
The letter said the facility could result in “damage to the port’s operations in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars over the projected life of this project.” Seattle Times reported.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (above) paid $1 billion for a botched renovation and may have to pay millions more to fix it, officials say
The eight-year project concluded last year and aimed to expand the international arrivals facility to 20 large aircraft at a time. In the photo: construction work at the airport
Excluding the renovations was expanding the arrivals facility in Concourse A by 450,000 square feet, according to the news outlet.
The port’s original budget was $344 million in 2014. But the price tag rose significantly to $968 million amid the pandemic and other additional costs.
According to the news outlet, funding for the project was provided by airport fees, including parking fees and revenue from airport shops.
The renovation was supposed to take four years, but was eventually postponed to 2022.
While new plans to expand the airport are in the works, lawsuits have been filed by both the port and the construction company.
Clark Construction filed a lawsuit for about $60 million against the port, arguing that the company was not paid for additional labor, pandemic construction costs, and design changes during construction.
But early in the year, the lawsuit was dismissed by the port for $100 million to cover the cost of repairing the flawed design.
The renovation was supposed to take four years, but was eventually postponed to 2022. Pictured are construction workers at the airport in March 2022
The port sent a letter to the construction company last year to complain about their shortage, which they say led to a 20 percent reduction in capacity for international flights arriving at the airport
The port states that after testing the renovations with aircraft, they concluded that the space required to park aircraft, along with moving fuel trucks and baggage carts, was not enough.
A total of four ports were identified as problems. The port further said that the construction company has not helped to find solutions.
Clark Construction denied in a statement to the news outlet that they had done anything wrong.
According to Pacific Northwest president Brett Earnest, the construction company successfully completed the project while meeting “the port’s stated goals and requirements.”
“The current port configuration is consistent with the Port-approved concourse study and meets the specifications and requirements of our contract,” the statement read to the news outlet.
Earnest added, “The port is now identifying changes to the port design based on operational considerations that were not considered in the program requirements in our contract.”
Clark Construction has spearheaded other major airport projects, including the newest terminal at Kansas City International Airport which opened this year.
The company was also responsible for the Seattle Convention Center.