FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt helped break ground Friday for a new air traffic control tower at Oakland International Airport (OAK) funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Oakland International Airport ARRA grant, totaling $33.2 million, is the FAA’s largest, single Recovery Act award.
“This Recovery Act project will make a difference for the Oakland area economy,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “People will be put to work building an environmentally friendly tower that will better serve the airport and the community.”
The Recovery Act grant will pay for construction of the 236-foot-tall tower and a 13,000-square-foot base building, as well as some equipment for the facility.
“This brand new, modernized tower will give air traffic controllers a better view of the airfield and help improve airport efficiency,” said Babbitt. “The Recovery Act is allowing us to make needed investments at airports around the country.”
Two air traffic control towers currently serve Oakland International Airport. A 158-foot-tall tower on the southern portion of the airfield was built in 1962 as a part of a terminal expansion project. In 1972, construction of a large hangar blocked some views from the south tower, requiring the Port of Oakland to build a second tower to handle traffic on the north runways.
Replacing both towers with a single one will improve air traffic operations and reduce operating costs. The FAA expects to start using the new tower in 2013.
The new tower will feature a number of environmental benefits, including a covered parking structure with solar panels on the roof of the base building, which will provide power for the tower and its electrical systems. The tower also will have a geothermal heating system and a rainwater storage system.
Nationwide, $1.3 billion in Recovery Act money has been made available for airport improvement projects and air traffic control facility and system upgrades. These grants have been distributed to airports that serve commercial passengers, cargo and general aviation.
For more information: FAA.gov