CORONAVIRUS

Airport Construction Workers Social Distance, Keep Project On Schedule

Apr 2, 2020, 7:05 PM | Updated: Jul 1, 2022, 11:58 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Construction on the $4.1 billion renovation project at the Salt Lake International Airport has continued despite coronavirus concerns. The program director said they have instituted safety guidelines to protect the nearly 2,000 employees working at the site, keeping the project on schedule.

“We have a very robust safety program, reminding people to make sure they keep their distance,” said program director Michael P. Williams.

You can tell from the outside that construction is closing in on completion with Concourse A set to open September 15, and Concourse B opening six weeks later.

“It’s starting to look like the facility will look when we open,” said Williams.

There are currently around 1,800 trade workers on the site, working hard as they keep their distance.

“We just stay vigilant every day,” Williams said.

Williams directed construction at the airports in Boston and Atlanta before coming to Salt Lake City to begin this project nearly a decade ago.

“Every single program it seems that we build has some sort of a crisis during it,“ he said, adding he never expected a pandemic.

As soon as project leaders learned about the global spread of the coronavirus early last month, they started CDC-based plans to mitigate the transmission of the virus.

“We have cleaning crews that go around the facilities cleaning handrails, and those kinds of surfaces, multiple times a day,“ said Williams.

They put in extra hand washing and hand sanitizing stations. They also have been sending daily newsletters to the workers, reinforcing the importance of keeping their distance while they work.

“The main thing is communication, and communication, and over communicating with the trade workers on the things we should be doing,” Williams said.

Two workers have tested positive for COVID-19 — one a couple of weeks ago, the other more recently. Williams said neither was on the job site at the time, but both had been on site before feeling ill.

“We immediately got together to determine where that worker had been working, who they were interfacing with, and what actions should be taken,“ said Williams.

The crews those workers had been in close contact with were told to self-isolate for two weeks. The program director said none of those workers have reported developing symptoms.

“All of the workers here really want to come to work, and they are very enthused about being here every day,” said Williams.

He said the trade workers want to do what they need to in order to keep working.

“Clearly, if it becomes an extreme health risk, you wouldn’t want them here,” said Williams.

Crew members have kept working with no delays so far.

“It’s up to us to make sure that everybody is safe and healthy every day,” said Williams.

The program director said he reminds everybody around him that “if we all act as though we are the one who is contagious, we are likely to do the right thing.”

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Airport Construction Workers Social Distance, Keep Project On Schedule