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Airline Passengers Park In The Back As Construction Continues

— People who have to pick someone up at the San Diego airport today will see some new road signs. They'll have to think fast, touch their brakes and make some unfamiliar turns if they want to park near Lindbergh Field’s Terminal 2. That’s because construction of an expanded terminal has shut down the familiar parking lot in front of the building.

The airport’s second terminal was opened in 1998. But the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s Bryan Enarson said it was built with expansion in mind. Now, workers are building a structure that will double the size of the terminal.

A plan to revamp the building’s access road forced the closure of the parking lot. An “ersatz lot” of similar size has been opened west of the terminal. You just have to drive another half mile on Harbor Drive to get to it.

Enarson is vice president of development for the airport authority and he said construction would be done in 2013.

“The terminal will give you ten additional gates. It’ll give you additional concessions. It’ll give you an expanded security checkpoint,” he said.

Enarson said this as he spoke to reporters on the replacement parking lot. Ultimately this lot will be used for parking aircraft. In the background the steel skeleton of the terminal expansion rose two-and-a-half stories in the air. Enarson pointed out that all of the steel, used for the building, is American-made.

“Everything on the project was bid, and the low bidder was American Steel Company. Everything was fabricated in the United States,” he said.

The addition of ten gates to Lindbergh Field will bring the total number of gates there to 51. Enarson said that’s about ten gates short of the maximum number that can practically be used at a one-runway airport.

Despite its physical limitations, Lindbergh Field will begin to look more like a modern airport. The road leading to Terminal 2 will have two decks, with departing passengers driving to the upper level and arrivals being picked up down below.

The total cost of the project will be $864 million, which includes the purchase of environmental mitigation land to create new habitat for an endangered bird called the least tern. Construction has evicted some of the fowl from their current digs. Authorities won't say whether airport will provide signage or a shuttle bus to direct the birds to their new nesting area.

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