Indy Airport Project Begins Final Year

Story by Tom Hale | September 28, 2010

The $1.1-billion New Indianapolis Airport project, the largest development initiative in the city of Indianapolis' history, is just months away from opening. The massive project, which has been five years in the making, is now approximately 70-percent complete with most of the new, four-level midfield passenger terminal enclosed. Airport officials hope to have the new airport fully operational by Thanksgiving.

"We plan to have our new terminal, garage and other features of the new airport operating before the start of the 2008 holiday travel season," says Indianapolis Airport Authority Executive Director John Kish. "Of course, like any construction project our schedule can be affected by weather and other conditions, but right now we're on track for our scheduled late 2008 opening."

The project is on budget and "things are going well," he says. "We are very proud of the facility."

Key Benefits

During a recent tour of the new airport complex, Kish described the coming benefits for air travelers, most notably the new midfield terminal building located between the two main runways at Indianapolis International Airport. Designed by St. Louis-based Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum (HOK), the new terminal building — a steel-framed structure set on concrete with a high-performance glass envelope —will replace the existing terminal on High School Road. Hunt/Smoot Midfield Builders, a joint venture of Hunt Construction Group and Smoot Construction, is building the terminal, which will have 1.2 million square feet of space and will feature a roofline as high as 82 feet from the floor.

The heart of the new terminal facility will be Civic Plaza, a circular space under a 200-foot-diameter skylight and a view of the downtown Indianapolis skyline that will be the center of shopping, dining and events. The new terminal will have two wide concourses (100 feet wide by 1,300 feet long) with 20 gates each. Both concourses will have moving walkways and offer full services. Two gates will be equipped to accept international arrivals.

Plenty of parking will be available at the new airport. A new, five-level parking garage will accommodate 5,900 cars, more than three times as many as the current garage. In addition, the first floor of the new garage will offer car rentals from eight agencies. Passengers will be able to get to their cars from the terminal via a moving walkway.

The new airport complex will have its own interchange on Interstate 70, just west of I-465. Additionally, the new airport will have 110 acres of new apron and taxiway concrete, 150 acres of new asphalt parking, an underground hydrant fueling system for aircraft, and a dual drainage system to accommodate aircraft deicing fluids and storm water runoff.

Five-Year Project

Development of the New Indianapolis Airport began in 2002, when ground was broken on a project to relocate a portion of I-70 in preparation for airport construction. This project, which was completed in 2004, included the dedicated I-70 interchange to serve the new airport and a new Six Points Road at I-70 interchange. In May 2003, construction began on the Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) complex at the airport, and this new complex opened in April 2006.