Since 1962, The Moles – an association of individuals engaged in heavy construction –has hosted an Annual Students Day, when junior engineering students from New York and New Jersey are invited to join them in a tour of a major area construction project.
While School of Engineering students have visited the Tappan Zee Bridge (now the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge) and Manhattan’s Second Avenue Subway Tunnels in years past, this October, 25 Rutgers civil engineering students were among the 250 students treated to a tour of the new Terminal A at Newark International Airport. When it opens in early December, the new terminal will replace the aging Terminal A that first opened in 1973.
“The new $2.7 billion Terminal A is an amazing, state-of-the-art project,” says Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering professor and undergraduate director Husam Najm.
With one million square feet of space, its three levels can accommodate 13.6 million passengers. It features 33 gates and a large number of retail stores, cafés, restaurants, and various other amenities, including new safety and security features, easily accessible high-speed Wi-Fi, easy-to-read large-screen displays, and pleasant seating areas.
A 500-foot covered pedestrian bridge connects Terminal A to the new parking deck that will also house all rental cars, while protecting travelers from extreme cold and extreme heat.
The students, together with project engineers, toured the terminal from 8 AM to 1 PM. The project engineers guided the students through all stages of the project – from excavation and putting utility connections in the ground to building the terminal’s steel structure, pedestrian bridge, and designing new luggage carousels, and a new control room. To conclude the tour, the group was able to inspect the new pavements where the planes taxi and park outside of the terminal.
“Airport terminals are unique structures, and this was a fun day and great opportunity for our students to see this project before it opens,” says Najm.