Rep shares future San Diego airport plans with La Jolla Rotarians

Future plans for San Diego International Airport include the demolition of current Terminal 1 and construction of a new 1,500,000-square-foot, 30-aircraft-gate facility that could extend up to 150 feet above the ground. Airport planning manager Ted Anasis shared details of the upcoming construction with Torrey Pines of La Jolla Rotary Club members during their March 12 meeting at Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, 8980 La Jolla Village Drive.

The expansion is expected to increase the number of gates at the Airport from 51 to 61. A first phase, to be completed by 2020, will construct the east side of the new Terminal 1 facility, allowing the current Terminal 1 to continue operating while adjacent work is underway. “It’s very important that we do not close any of these 51 gates during construction,” Anasis told Rotarians.

Once the east side of Terminal 1’s expansion is ready to go, air traffic will be moved to the new 18-gate facility, liberating the existing Terminal 1, which was built in 1967, for demolition and further construction of an extra 12 gates. This phase is expected to be completed by 2027.

The airport operates out of a single runway, making it the busiest single-runway airport in the nation, and according to Anasis, this is not about to change.

“We do not have enough land to construct a second runway, or even a runway that would be at a sufficient separation,” he said, adding that San Diego County voters rejected a ballot measure in 2006 to move the airport to Miramar.

Other developments in the plans include an extension of Terminal 2 West, and improvements to airport and airline support facilities, such as roadway modifications and new parking facilities.

“We want to create an on-airport roadway system that will allow incoming vehicle traffic to enter the airport earlier, and this allows us to segregate airport ground traffic from other destinations such as Harbor Drive,” he explained.

As for the parking structure, which is still in the conceptual design phase, Airport authorities are considering forthcoming conditions, such as the expansion of rideshare apps, preferred by many passengers in their trips to the airport, and the driverless car. “We are also seeing in the future the self-driving vehicles, so there may be who gets dropped off at the airport and sends their cars back home, and we want to be mindful of that,” he continued.

The expansion in number of gates will foreseeably bring a higher number of flights and passengers to San Diego. Airport Noise Advisory Committee (ANAC) subcommittee La Jolla rep Chris McCann told the Light he calculates the expansion represents a 20 increase in capacity.

“There seems to be some fundamental disconnect between what historical growth trends show, what the Airport Authority is planning with the gate expansions, and what the ANAC reps tell us is the expected growth in traffic in coming years,” McCann wrote in an e-mail. “Citizens are rightfully concerned that the current noise issues impacting so many homes and families are only going to get worse with the expected growth in traffic if nothing is done about the problem.”

The Airport Authority issued an Environmental Impact Review Notice of Preparation in January, and the time to provide input on the scope of the review has ended. The Draft EIR will be released in September for public review and comments. More information at bit.ly/airportplan and citizens may direct questions to planning@san.org or call Anasis at (619) 400-2478.

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