The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners has signed off on $1.26 billion in contracts to reconfigure the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), putting in place one of the most significant upgrades to the terminal since it was constructed prior to the 1984 Olympics.

In a move toward the overall modernization of LAX, the Airport Commission voted Monday, October 19th to award two contracts to Los Angeles-based Walsh Austin Joint Venture for the Bradley West Project. It is considered to be the largest public works project in the city’s history and is expected to create 4,000 construction-related jobs during the four-year schedule, city officials note.

The project is subject to City Council approval.

“By modernizing the Bradley Terminal at LAX we will provide better service for passengers from around the world,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. “Tourism generates jobs, and improving the experience for travelers at LAX will put people to work now and for years to come.”

One contract for $545.55 million with a budgeted owner’s contingency for $61.4 million amends an existing contract to include construction services for the Bradley Terminal, consisting of nine new boarding gates on the terminal’s west side to supplement existing gates on the east side.

The contract covers other features including dual passenger loading bridges; concourses with larger passenger lounges/holdrooms; aircraft tarmac areas and associated structures; and aircraft support equipment to accommodate new-generation aircraft such as the Airbus A380. The new boarding gates are scheduled for completion in 2012.

The second contract for $584.2 million with a budgeted owner’s contingency of $66.7 million for core improvements covers upgrades to the Federal Inspection Service/Customs and Border Protection facilities.

Secured corridors between Terminals 3 and 4 and the Bradley Terminal will also be constructed, allowing passengers with connecting flights to not have to go through security screening again. Other core improvements, scheduled for completion in spring 2013, include over 1.25 million square feet for food/beverage and retail concessions and other amenities located beyond passenger security screening.

Funds for the Bradley West projects will come from the airport’s operating revenues, capital improvement program funds, fees from airlines, passenger facilities charges and airport revenue bond proceeds, airport officials said.

Airport officials praised the contract approvals, saying the reconfiguration project will enhance the entryway to Los Angeles for millions of annual international passengers. Nearly 35 airlines operate out of the terminal today.

“Today’s action by the Board is a cornerstone of the work to build international facilities worthy of the LAX name,” Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey said. “A world of international travelers and the airlines that serve them have now come a giant step closer to the delivery of one of America’s premier international gateways.”

The Bradley West Project is part of the overall LAX Master Plan approved by the City Council in December 2004. In addition to providing a substantial number of construction employment opportunities, it is expected to also provide some direct and secondary regional economic benefits, airport officials note.