By Martin Kidston/Missoula Current

As the new south terminal at Missoula Montana Airport closes out its first month of operation, officials have started the project's second phase.

In the coming weeks, the work will include the removal of what remains of the old airport and the construction of a new east concourse.

“We've moved out of the old terminal,” said deputy airport director Tim Damrow. “The final piece we're working on is to disconnect some of the utilities that remain in there and to mitigate any asbestos.”

The Missoula County Airport Authority last month approved a $42 million agreement with Martel Construction to begin the second phase of the airport project.

A rendering of the Missoula airport after both Phase 1 and 2 of construction is fnished.
A rendering of the Missoula airport after both Phase 1 and 2 of construction are finished.

The latest phase is funded by grants from the Federal Aviation Administration, passenger charges, entitlement funds and airport reserves, among other sources.

Once finished, the new concourse will include two additional jet bridges, two ground boarding gates and two baggage carousels, along with car rental.

“The old tower did have asbestos,” Damrow said. “They're removing it in preparation for the deconstruction of that building, which will probably take place starting late next week.”

The project's second phase was buoyed in part by an $11 million infrastructure grant awarded to the airport last month. Phase 1 of the project has gone smoothly, and airport officials are eager to expand the new facility in Phase 2.

“Our new terminal is working very well,” said airport director Brian Ellestad. “I can't imagine trying to survive in the old terminal this summer as we move into our normal summer volume of passengers.”