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RDU official: Terminal construction reaches economic 'milestone'

Posted August 7, 2009

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— Crews put in place the highest beam Friday in a new concourse that Raleigh-Durham International Airport officials hope will be an economic anchor for the region.

Workers hoisted the beam up 40 feet, where it is the highest structural piece in what will be the central atrium of Terminal 2's south concourse.

"This is a milestone for the region. Economic development depends on a good, strong airport," said Robb Teer, chairman of the RDU Airport Authority.

Highest beam tops new RDU concourse Highest beam tops new RDU concourse

Workers signed the beam during a "topping-out" ceremony, a modern take on the tradition of barn-raisings and house-warmings carried by immigrants to America.

The 370,000-square-foot concourse is being built in the second phase of construction of Terminal 2. The structural steel skeleton has been finished, as have a canopy and mast that will be the concourses' architectural signatures. The mast is 90 feet tall.

The curved beams of the atrium's roof represent the wings of an aircraft. They will eventually support a suspended art work called Triplet, which features wood masts tipped with dichroic glass and LED lighting.

When it opens in early 2011, the new wing will house 17 gates and 15 restaurants and shops and serve US Airways and Continental Airlines.

"Everything's on schedule. Everything's on budget," said Dan Walsh, president of Archer Western Contractors. "Our relationship with our owner, the (RDU) Airport Authority, has been excellent."

At a time of record unemployment, 250 construction workers, mostly local, have been working on the airport project, Walsh said. As many as 500 will be on the job as work ramps up in the next few months.

"This is a good economic thing for our region," Teer said.

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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Aug 7, 2009

    A new terminal at RDU is a waste. Even the home grown Midway went bankrupt and out of business trying to fly out of Raleigh and compete.

    Truth be known, Raleigh is still a little backwoods place as far as the airlines are concerned.

  • wildervb Aug 7, 2009

    nuncvendetta,

    You're right nuncvendetta, people will complain about everything, the terminal is creating jobs for construction workers, when its all done we'll have a first class terminal.

    Not sure why people chose to spin this in a negative way.

  • nuncvendetta Aug 7, 2009

    I'm now convinced that WRAL.com readers complain about anything and everything, no matter how good it is. RDU's new terminal is one of the most functional and spatially impressive I've seen in my recent travels. One only has to look at a similar terminal-building project at San Jose, CA, an airport of similar passenger count, to see what a debacle a terminal space can be from both an architectural and functional point of view.

    I recently had a wedding in the Triangle area, and you wouldn't believe the number of guests, many from larger cities, who praised RDU's new terminal to us, out of their own motivation to do so. It's a gateway into our area we should be proud of. Very proud of.

    As for folks complaining about the lack of flights or destinations from RDU, I defy you to find a non-hub airport in a city of our size that has better service than we do. and as for hubs - a lot of people in Charlotte would trade places with us in order to have many airlines competing.

  • foetine Aug 7, 2009

    "This is a milestone for the region. Economic development depends on a good, strong airport," said Robb Teer, chairman of the RDU Airport Authority.

    Wasn't that exactly what they said 20 years ago when they opened Terminal C that was going to be the super busy American Airlines hub? What happened to that Terminal and our hub status? Seriously. We're a nice little place. But the airlines that are making it in the system are the budget fliers like Southwest who don't want to pay for bright and shiny because they'd have to pass that cost onto us. How long will this new terminal last before people think it's completely outdated

  • Nunya123 Aug 7, 2009

    hkypky - please provide facts to justify statments (not just number of people moving here). Show me one of the cities with outstanding rail service where the people are leaving to come to the Triangle. Not saying your wrong, would just like additional information to make a decision on rail and this is something I haven't seen or heard before.

  • hkypky Aug 7, 2009

    We need a rapid rail system however we cannot afford one nor can we maintain one.

    The empire builders out there are trying to compare the Triangle to other areas of the country with such systems.

    This is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

    The tongue-in-cheek confirmation of this is the fact that all the folks from those so-called reference cities are moving here ... supposedly because the Triangle is different and better.

  • nerdlywehunt Aug 7, 2009

    Great, a new terminal to fly the "new" 20 year old jets that most of the airlines are starting to use again. Now they have a revenue shortfall and have to raise landing fees for the fewer flights using the airport. Which causes the airlines to have fewer flights. A vicious cycle of false economics.

  • manofjustice Aug 7, 2009

    We need a rapid rail system

  • timothycapwell Aug 7, 2009

    Good news! Maybe more flights will come to RDU now!

    On the other hand, I'm concerned about this quote:

    "At a time of record unemployment, 250 construction workers, mostly local, have been working on the airport project, Walsh said. As many as 500 will be on the job as work ramps up in the next few months."

    I would bet money they aren't really "local"...IYKWIMAITYD.

  • Pack92 Aug 7, 2009

    As a Wood Science graduate from THE State University of North Carolina I found it humorous that the beams shown were called 'steel" beams. The beams are a laminated wood product that is much more energy efficient from a a cradle-to-grave perspective than steel will ever be. I know because the company I work for supplies the adhesive used to glue the lamellas together. Come on WRAL, at least get your unx "journalists" some background education.