Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) broke ground on a new terminal to replace the aging Terminal A. The new Terminal 1 will be able to accommodate 13.6 million passengers on three levels. The terminal is the centerpiece of a $2.7 billion modernization underway at the airport.

The new Terminal 1 will feature 33 common-use gates to handle larger aircraft within 1 million square feet of terminal space, as well as state-of-the-art check-in, security and baggage claim areas. There is potential to expand the facility if need arises. Officials at EWR are hoping to have the terminal fully functional by 2022.

Construction will take place in phases, with partial operations resuming with 21 completed gates by 2021. By 2022, the new building will be fully open with 12 more gates available and a pedestrian bridge for AirTrain Newark riders to access the terminal.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates EWR, said the new terminal will address the shortcomings of the current antiquated facility, which includes cramped areas for check-in, security and baggage claim, as well space constraints on frontage roads. Designed as a common-use terminal, all gates in the new terminal will be utilized by multiple carriers in an effort increase flexibility and efficiency and optimize operations.

Best-in-class retail options will be offered, with more shops and restaurants post-security compared with the current terminal’s retail – much of which is located before the security area. Retail outlets and restaurants are expected to include the best of the New Jersey and the metropolitan area’s offerings, along with some farm-fresh and local products, the PANYNJ said.

“The Port Authority is transforming Newark Liberty and its other airports into a world-class operational system with best-in-class customer amenities,’’ said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “Our New Jersey and New York airports must be 21st century gateways befitting the importance and stature of the metropolitan area, comparing favorably with any airport in the world in providing top-shelf customer experience for all passengers.”

In addition to the terminal redevelopment, airside improvements for planes entering and exiting gates at the new Terminal 1 are also in the plans, including a new aeronautical taxi-lane network to increase efficiency in operations. Addition of dual taxi-lanes, a project to be done in conjunction with the terminal work, also will help get planes to and from gates faster.

PANYNJ says the goal is to award certified Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises a “significant portion” of sub-contract, vendor and consulting work within the project.

The design-build contract is held by Tutor Perini/Parsons, which has a goal of achieving a LEED Silver rating for the new terminal.