Gateway to the Skies for 58 Years: Terminal 2 Comes Down at Sky Harbor
The jet age arrived in Phoenix in 1962 with the opening of Terminal 2 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. However, the 330,000-square-foot terminal with 19 gates hasn't kept up with advances in flight transportation and closed on February 4, 2020.
Demolishing the terminal was a project handled by The Ground Level Co., a family-owned and operated firm based in Mesa. The midcentury structure, however, didn’t come down without a struggle.
“The concrete apron surrounding the terminal proved difficult because some areas were extremely strong and thick,” says Lincoln Johansen, Ground Level supervisor. “Others were soft and easily broken up.” Johansen explained that the hard areas were sections that were replaced over the years. The area had been excavated and had slurry poured in to stabilize the soft soil. “The concrete was poured on top of this slurry even thicker than before.”
“We were able to crush the concrete by dropping 10,000-pound steel shafts with CAT 385 excavators,” he adds. “Once broken, the concrete was piled up with excavators. The 992 loader would scoop and transfer to the designated area for crushing and recycling.”
According to Johansen, the 992 has several rebuilds of all its components and is still going strong at 55,000 hours. "The 992 is a beast, and we purchased it as a retired mining machine,” he says. “It’s not one that gets out to jobs too much, but it makes all the difference when it does.”
On the Terminal 2 project, Ground Level used the 992 loader to move and pile up over 30,000 yards of the concrete apron and 10,000 yards of asphalt millings. The loader accomplished this feat in only three-weeks time.
The Paul Coze mural "The Phoenix" was removed for relocation to the Rental Car Center.
“The 992 loader is an amazing piece of machinery that can still perform and will continue to do so as long as we own it, Johansen says. “It is a personal favorite of Layne's [the company owner and father of Lincoln] and admittedly was purchased somewhat out of passion. He loves running it.”
Besides the concrete apron, the building’s original skeletal structure was also stout. Terminal 2 was renovated many times over the years, so during the demo, there were multiple different buildings," Johansen says. “The original concrete building was built around with heavy steel beams to bridge over and expand on top of.”
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This article originally appeared in the bimonthly Arizona Contractor & Community magazine, Sept/Oct 2020 issue, Vol. 9, No. 5.