Critical Mission to Deliver New Air Traffic Control Tower

Palm Springs was known as a trendy winter get-away for the hip and famous back in 1967 when its current six-story air traffic control tower was constructed. More recently, the Palm Springs International Airport (PSIA) was expected to achieve a 50 percent increase in air traffic—to more than 110,000 annual operations—over the next two decades.

A new air traffic control tower went underway at PSIA to accommodate this increased activity and replace the aging facility. The Palm Springs tower is part of a nationwide FAA program that has allocated $1.3 billion in federal stimulus dollars to more than 700 projects. The estimated $24.5-million price tag of the new tower was partially funded with this American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money specifically targeting “a safe and efficient national airport system.”

General contractor Swinerton Builders was chosen by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to construct the 150-foot tower that, at more than twice the height of the existing six-story facility, enhanced the safety of aircraft taxiing, take off, and landing operations.

Early Collaboration Facilitates Complex Tower Transition

With 71,000 take-offs and landings during the year before construction began, it was mission critical that the existing control tower remain operational during construction. As the time for conversion to the new facility approached, the airport maintained paralleling operational control towers. The real challenge was the actual transfer itself, which involved cutting into the existing fiber optics.

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To facilitate the transition, Berg was involved in an intricately-choreographed coordination effort with the FAA’s onsite inspector and electric-utility service provider, Southern California Edison.

With a new satellite-based technology that replaced the airport’s radar system, the controllers are better equipped to both track and guide planes. When Phase 1 was completed in December 2011, the new PSIA air traffic control tower began providing safe and smooth landing for thousands of future flights.

Size
8,079-square feet

Electrical Construction Cost
$2 Million

Duration
April 2010 – September 2012

Delivery Method
Design Build

Other Team Members
Swinerton Builders
Leo A. Daly Architects
Leo A. Daly Engineers

Berg Regional Office
Orange County

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