Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Leon Nelson, construction director for HD, left, talks to journalists on a tour atop the new south concourse as construction work continues on the new Salt Lake City International Airport on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017.
SALT LAKE CITY — After more than a decade of planning, the $3 billion redesign of Salt Lake City International Airport is taking shape from paper to steel.
More than 21,000 tons of steel, in fact. So far.
Construction crews have spent the past four months using almost 20 cranes at a time to erect an average of 30 to 40 tons of steel for the first major building — the South Concourse-West.
Salt Lake airport officials Friday gave media a behind-the-scenes tour of the massive construction project and one of the first looks at the beginnings of the state’s largest public project.
Salt Lake City Department of Airports
The new airport will eventually have two new concourses, replacing the three aging terminals with one central terminal building, along with a new public parking garage with twice as many stalls. Over time, all the existing terminals, parking garages and concourses will be demolished.
The first phase of construction — including the completion of the parking garage, terminal and South Concourse-West — is expected to be finished in 2020, according to Mike Williams, airport redevelopment program director.
The North Concourse-West’s completion is slated for 2021, while the east portions of both concourses are expected in 2024, Williams said.
As the new South Concourse-West stands now, it’s roughly 600 yards long, with 4,500 tons of structural steel, he said.
Soon the structure for the new terminal will begin rising out of the ground, Williams said, connecting the new concourses to the new parking garage with pedestrian skybridges.
Leading up to the new terminal’s front door will be two roadways — an elevated road for passenger drop-offs and a ground-level road for pickups.
So far, 18 massive concrete columns, each more than 7 feet in diameter, have been installed for that…