Orange County Branch Newsletter
History & Heritage
John Wayne Airport Named Historic Landmark by ASCE - APRIL 7th, 2011
On Thursday, April 7th, 2011, John Wayne Airport (JWA) was named a Local Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Orange County Branch. This makes JWA the 11th Orange County facility to be given this honor.
To commemorate the occasion, a bronze plaque was presented to John Wayne Airport in a ceremony held in the Thomas F. Riley Terminal and has been placed permanently on a column in the Terminal B baggage claim area.
The airport was given this distinction based on its many Civil Engineering projects that have contributed to the Orange County Area. According to OC Branch History and Heritage Committee Chair, Bill Lawson, “Eddie Martin's Airport, predecessor of John Wayne Airport, was established in Orange County in 1923. In September 1941 the County of Orange Airport was constructed with Martin Aviation as a tenant. In 1965 construction of new runways was completed, followed by the construction of a new terminal in 1967. In 1979 the name of the airport was changed to John Wayne Airport, and in 1990 the present 'Supervisor Thomas F. Riley' Terminals A and B were completed."
In addition to its prior developments, the airport is currently undergoing further improvements. The development of the South Commuter Terminal has been underway since August 2009, and is likely to continue until late 2011. The new terminal, known as Terminal C, will be a multi-level building comprised of 282,000 SF, six new commercial passenger gates, security screening checkpoints, concessions, three baggage carousels and a Common Use Passenger Processing System (CUPPS). The project also includes construction of new permanent commuter terminals at the south end of Terminal C and at the north end of Terminal A. Replacement of passenger boarding bridges at all 14 existing gates in Terminals A and B, as well as a new baggage handling system for all three terminals and other upgrades will be made to Terminals A and B.
"Civil engineers have played a large part in building the Riley Terminal and are instrumental to the development of our current $543 million Airport Improvement Program," said Airport Director Alan L. Murphy. Orange County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman, John M.W. Moorlach, also spoke at the occasion and conveyed his personal interest in historic landmarks, having visited over 1,000 of them throughout the world.
The process of obtaining this distinction can take several years. Nomination of JWA as a HCEL began in 2008, was approved in early 2010 by the Los Angeles Section, and finally dedicated this past April. The History and Heritage Committee currently has plans for another Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, with its recent nomination of the Irvine Ranch Irrigation System. The Branch hopes to have a plaque dedicated for this project before the end of 2011.