AUS 2040 Master Plan

Expanding the world’s gateway to Austin

Project Purpose

Originally built in 1999, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) continues to experience passenger growth well above the national average, making it necessary to significantly expand all aspects of the facility to meet anticipated future demand. For this reason, AUS spent 18 months in 2017 and 2018 completing the AUS 2040 Master Plan. The plan included aviation activity forecasting, demand-capacity analysis, alternatives analysis, and community involvement.

The 2040 Master Plan forecast that the airport would serve 31.4 million passengers by 2040, double the demand in 2018. To support this demand, the plan identified $6.5 billion worth of improvements to be completed at AUS through 2040. The improvements recommended in the plan span the entire airport facility, ranging from a new gate concourse, terminal expansion, and significant airfield improvements, to expanding the roadway infrastructure and increasing parking capacity.

Project Approach

As part of the consultant team, KFA provided support related to infrastructure improvements with a focus on transportation and utilities.

For the onsite roadway-related tasks, KFA prepared numerous short-term and long-term alternatives to improve the entrances and exits from the terminal area of the airport. The goal of these options was to provide free-flowing conditions (no traffic signals or stop signs) along the primary entrance and exit roads to SH 71. KFA developed a preliminary layout for the preferred short-term alternative, which included a “braided” roadway where a new bridge would allow exit and entrance traffic to cross without a controlled intersection. This alternative would allow the roadways to exist in their current footprint without significant modifications to SH 71 frontage roads or main lanes. Through discussion with airport staff, TxDOT staff, and the master plan team, a long-term alternative was selected that envisions the possible relocation of a portion of SH 71 to the north. This will allow for new entrance and exit ramps from the airport that won’t conflict with the airspace surfaces of Runway 17L-35R, as well as allow for contiguous airport land to maximize use for airport expansion.

KFA also led the planning efforts for wet utilities, including potable water, wastewater, reclaimed water, stormwater, and water quality infrastructure. Based on the proposed airport layout envisioned in the Master Plan, KFA modeled the various utilities to determine existing pipeline capacities and the improvements that would be necessary to meet future demands. This work included reviewing proposed impervious cover in the various drainage basins, associated modeling, and examining existing capacity of stormwater and water quality infrastructure.

KFA reviewed the existing parking, rental car, and ground transportation infrastructure and proposed improvements to meet demand projections. For parking, improvements are envisioned to be a combination of new parking garages and surface parking lots with an eye toward limiting new and expensive parking garages as much as possible, due to the future expected impacts of driverless cars and other transportation modes that may impact parking demands.

In addition to the technical requirements assigned to KFA, our staff participated in numerous public and advisory committee meetings. KFA assisted with presentations to airport staff, technical and advisory committees, and members of the community.

“Planning two decades into the future at an airport located in a fast growing and dynamic setting like Austin presents fascinating challenges,” shares Dale Murphy, PE, KFA Project Manager. “From variable growth projections to the impacts of new technologies, the planning process must build in flexibility to adjust as things change in the future. To keep up with the anticipated growth in the area, Austin’s airport will be undergoing a tremendous transformation, and will continue to be one of the best airports in the country with a flavor all its own.”

Project Results

After the impacts of COVID on air travel and the associated unknown long-term impacts, the growth at AUS is off the charts, and the airport is currently moving at full speed to implement a massive improvement program to deliver many of the projects identified in the 2040 Master Plan. KFA is thrilled to continue our service to AUS on several ongoing design projects, and is currently starting work as part of the Principal Architect/Engineer team to perform preliminary design and overall guidance for the improvement program.