Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport Plan Could Reduce Cut-Through Traffic

By Christina Estes
Published: Monday, June 17, 2019 - 5:05am
Updated: Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 8:44am

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in 2017.

As part of its long-range plan, Sky Harbor Airport could put the brakes on cut-through traffic.

During rush hour, officials said 40 percent of traffic on Sky Harbor Boulevard is just cutting through the airport. Jordan Feld, deputy aviation director, told the Phoenix City Council last week that stakeholders are concerned about such an open system. Looking ahead five to 10 years, Feld said they’d like to add a security plaza near 24th Street.

“So all traffic coming into the airport could theoretically be stopped and screened,” he said. “This really solves the cut-through issues in a lot of ways because you’re going to be much less likely to want to cut through the airport if you think there’s a security plaza you’re going to have to contend with. And then, more directly, it really does help with our security issues.”

Other expected redesigns will improve connectivity to freeways and roads, and access between terminals. The 20-year plan also includes a new concourse, acquiring more land and building better facilities for a variety of businesses.

“The Air National Guard operations, the cargo operations, the aerobiz, the Honeywells, the general aviation, all these things that contribute to airport economy are critical,l and they wanted to make sure we were providing to make room for their growth and all of these operators are anticipating continued growth,” Feld said.

He said cargo tonnage is expected to double in 20 years, and passenger traffic is projected to be between 75 million and 80 million annually. Currently, Sky Harbor reports 45 million passengers annually.

The plan is estimated to cost $5.7 billion plan and will be paid for through state and federal grants, passenger fees, bonds and private investment. The Federal Aviation Administration requires a long-range plan and must approve it. Once the plan receives federal approval, the Aviation Department will bring individual projects to the city council for approval.

The Aviation Department said Sky Harbor is the nation’s 13th-busiest airport and its operations are responsible for more than 58,000 direct jobs.

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