Salt Lake International Airport officials, who received unanimous City Council approval for an eight-year, $1 billion airport redevelopment plan just last month, soon will have nearly $100 million in related work under contract.

Russ Widmar, executive director of the Salt Lake City Airport Authority, said plans for airport expansion are quickly moving out of the shadows and into the spotlight."We've been a little quiet about it because we were uncertain how much support we'd have on the City Council," Widmar said Wednesday, adding that this is the first time the council has approved an airport construction project with a time frame of more than five years.

The Airport Authority recently signed on the Philadelphia firm of Day & Zimmerman Infrastructure Inc. as program manager for its master plan - to the tune of $34 million over eight years. Widmar predicts by the end of next month the authority will ink the architecture firm of Howard Needles Tammen and Bergendoff, which is based in Alexandria, Va., to a contract in the $50 million-$70 million range to design the expansion.

The Utah Air Travel Commission passed a resolution Wednesday in support of the construction plans. Widmar said that support can only help the airport in its effort to win approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The $1 billion first phase of the airport's $1.7 billion, 20-year construction program calls for a new $188 million terminal building to replace the airport's existing terminals, and $319 million for two satellite concourses that will expand airline capacity and ease aircraft movement.

Steve Domino, the airport's lead planner, told a group of Utah Department of Transportation employees earlier this week that the work cannot be completed before the 2002 Winter Olympics because the airlines that use the airport have not signed off on the ambitious plans. That brought a collective groan from the UDOT workers, many of whom are involved in rebuilding I-15 in Salt Lake County - a project to be completed months before the Games.

Widmar said all the airport's airlines, including its primary carrier Delta, are supportive of the plan but have not made a financial commitment. The airport, traditionally, has not been very profitable for the airlines, he said, and they are approaching the planned expansion like any other business deal - very carefully.

Widmar said the airlines, which have user agreements with the airport through 2003, probably won't commit funding for another six months to two years. If, however, they jump on board sooner, Widmar said, some of the construction work could be accelerated and completed before the Olympics. But he said planning for the expansion started about two years too late to allow for a substantial completion of the first phase by 2002.

Widmar told the Air Travel Commission that between 30 percent and 45 percent of the work involved in the $1 billion first phase would be completed by local contractors and subcontractors.

"There will be a clear and defined role for the locals," he promised.

He said airport representatives will meet with a group of local contractors later this month.