New Concourse For San José Airport

By Loren Faulkner | September 28, 2010

The Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport (SJA) is undergoing what it calls a "Monster Project"; that is, a multi-faceted $1.5-billion upgrade that will bring it up to par with the best airports in the country. Already runways have been extended, and some facilities upgraded.

The first phase upgrade began in 2004 and is scheduled for completion by 2010. It includes a new 380,000-square-foot North Concourse, a new Terminal B, the demolition of Terminal C, and upgrades to Terminal A. Roadways at and to the airport will be upgraded, and a new 3,400-space parking garage will be built. Terminal A improvements and Terminal B construction will start in 2008. Terminal C is set for demolition in 2010.

Recently the new $355-million North Concourse celebrated its midway topping out with a dedication by the airports' namesake, Norman Y. Mineta, former mayor of San José, as well as former U.S. Secretary of Transportation. The new facility will eventually feature nine new commercial aircraft gates, passenger hold rooms, state-of-the-art baggage security systems, and other passenger amenities. The North Concourse should be ready for air traffic by late 2008, according to Gary Lamb, project executive with Gilbane Building Company, the construction manager.

New Concourse Construction

Lamb says of the airport construction site, "It's a tight site — every day is kind of like a 'Rubik's Cube' to coordinate working with the array of contractors and the subs." Tony Kostakis, Gilbane construction manager for the new concourse, described some of the challenges of the early construction:

"The basement area was excavated approximately 25 feet below grade. We off-hauled 150,000 cubic yards to a city-owned site." Then there was the critical issue of keeping the water table at bay.

"The dewatering consisted of 54 deep wells that pumped 700 million gallons of water over a 700-day time period, through 12-inch pipe that ran the entire perimeter of the excavation, into five each Baker tanks. These filtered the water before it was transferred 'clean' into the Guadaloupe River," he said.

"The waterproofing consisted of a Laurenco three-ply waterproofing membrane with a mastic adhesive. The waterproofing membrane made the entire basement level like a bathtub/water balloon. The waterproofing application was below the concrete and then continued to the first floor slab, totally enclosing all the concrete."

The basement floor is a 3-foot-thick reinforced concrete slab. The walls are 18-inch-thick double mat reinforcing with shot-crete walls.

Other Challenges

Kostakis said there is the normal fleet of excavators, backhoes, man-lifts, concrete pumps trucks, cranes, skid steers, etc. being used, but, "The proximity of the cranes used required a permit (7460) issued by the FAA," he said. "A major challenge was that the building connects to the two adjacent buildings (north and south). This necessitated either night-time airside deliveries, to not interfere with aircraft traffic movement, or else the construction of three shored bridges over the first-floor concrete deck. We chose the bridge method. These were removed as the structural steel was erected from north to south."

Kostakis said the entire project is proceeding on a fast-track schedule.


Concourse Materials

  • 3,500 tons of structural steel to a height of 62 feet and a length of 1,560 feet.
  • 25,000 bolts (20 tons)
  • 800 gallons of primer for the steel
  • 1,100 pounds of welds
  • 150,000 cubic yards of excavation for the basement
  • 22,350 cubic yards concrete for the basement floor/walls/deck and columns
  • 1.5 million feet of electrical cables

About Mineta San José International Airport

  • Mineta San José International Airport is self-supporting, owned and operated by the city of San José. SJC served 10.8 million passengers and handled 209 million pounds of air cargo in 2006. SJC has 180 flights a day on 13 domestic and international carriers to 30 nonstop destinations.
  • SJA generates $132.3 million in operating revenue, generates $4 billion in direct business spending locally, and 70,000 jobs in the San José Area. The city of San José is California's third-largest city and the nation's 10th-largest city (population of 973,672). Source: SJA,

Main Contractors and Subs for Concourse

Excavation — DeSilva Gates, Piles — Foundation Constructors, Foundation Concrete/Waterproofing — Conco Company's, Structural Steel — Gayle Manufacturing, Structural Steel Erection — California Erectors, General Contractor at Risk — Clark Construction.

Subcontractors: Allied Roofing, Graniterock/Pavex, Malcolm Drilling, Rosendin Electric, Cuppertino Electric, Hellwig Plumbing, F.W. Spencer, Control Air North, Raymond, Beck Steel, Architectural Glass and Aluminum, Pacific Erectors, A&B Construction, ISEC, John Jackson Masonry, Mauck Sheet Metal, Pro Installation, Supersky Products, Transbay Fire Protection, Creative Window Interiors, Environmental Interiors, Synergy, Floor Seal Technology, Grazzinni Bros., R&W Concrete, JJ Albanese, Walker Communication, Schindler Elevators, Andy's Roofing, Coast Insulation, George Masker Painting