$2.6B airport project tops out after anti-bias training pause

A Turner-Flatiron JV topped out the steel structure at the $2.6 billion Terminal 1 project at […]

A Turner-Flatiron JV topped out the steel structure at the $2.6 billion Terminal 1 project at San Diego International Airport last month, even after project leaders stopped work there recently due to bias-related events at the jobsite. 

On Sept. 29, Turner-Flatiron temporarily shut the job down after a series of three bias-motivated displays were discovered at the site, according to an email shared with Construction Dive from Local 89 of the Laborers’ International Union of North America directing its workers to stay home. The email did not provide details on the nature of the display.

Turner CEO Peter Davoren told Construction Dive that workers found hate-based graffiti at the job, a recurring issue at commercial construction sites. A Turner spokesperson said the JV has offered a $250,000 reward in the case, but has not been able to identify who was responsible for the display.

Davoren, who’s been outspoken about combating racism on jobsites and has personally visited jobs where bias-motivated events have occurred in the past, said the work stoppage was necessary to give anti-bias training to more than 1,200 workers onsite.

“We’ve done that before,” Davoren said. “If we’re delayed, we pick up the cost.”

Progress continues

Despite the work stoppage, Turner confirmed the Terminal 1 project, which includes 19 gates, is on track for completion in 2025.

Contractors are now installing a “Luminous Wave” curtain wall, comprised of 689 individual glazing units, according to the airport authority. When complete, it will result in a glass wall that’s 32 feet tall and 900 feet long and will help control the heat, sunlight and glare for those inside the building.

The new terminal will feature additional security checkpoint lanes and gate-area seating; an outdoor patio area inside security with views of the airfield, San Diego Bay and downtown; and a childrens’ play area. Six commissioned artists will create site-specific public art that will be integrated into the design. A second phase with 11 additional gates is scheduled for 2028.

The project is focused on sustainability with climate-resilient features and will be powered by renewable electricity, according to Turner’s release. The terminal’s design and redesigned taxiways aim to reduce the taxiing time of planes, to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority completed a $1.062 billion bond sale in October to help fund the design-build project.