AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin’s city council on Thursday will consider whether to authorize up to $46 million to begin more improvements at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

According to city documents, the money would go toward “pre-construction and construction services” for the Barbara Jordan Terminal project, including planning costs and materials sourcing.

The plan is to add three new aircraft gates to the west end of the terminal.

An airport spokesperson told KXAN the $46 million would serve as “an initial investment” on the west gate expansion. The finished work could cost up to $70 million, the spokesperson said, though that figure could change as the project is designed.

After evaluating six proposals, city staff is recommending the pre-construction contract be awarded to companies JE Dunn and Clark Construction Group in a joint venture. The group would have a little more than two years to complete its initial work.

The contract would not be for the actual construction of the gates, and a construction start date has not yet been set, according to the airport.

Optimization of the Barbara Jordan Terminal is part of the Airport Expansion & Development Program which saw disruptions due to the pandemic.

The drop in passenger traffic slashed anticipated revenue streams that would have paid for the enhancements. It forced the airport to “re-strategize” and re-think the timelines on projects such as the three new gates and the planned midfield concourse.

Concourse B will eventually add another 10-plus gates, two new taxiways, and an underground tunnel to connect it to the Barbara Jordan terminal. The concourse is currently in development with no set start date.

Despite the setbacks, Sam Haynes with Austin Bergstrom said all planned masterplan projects remain on the table.

“We were fortunate that we didn’t have to halt construction on any major, significant project,” she told KXAN.

In July 2021 presentation to the Airport Advisory Commission, airport officials said they were hoping to return to full pre-pandemic passenger levels by 2023. Haynes said it’s on track to hit that mark sooner.

“Our early projections for this year actually indicate that we could meet 2019 levels this year,” she said.

This article has been updated from a prior version to include new information from Austin Bergstrom International Airport.