Construction started on a new 14-gate concourse at Ronald Reagan National Airport this week as part of a broader renovation plan intended to accommodate more passengers this year.

Lanes on the arrivals roadway were closed Monday for the construction of new slip ramps. Further construction to the airport’s interior is set to begin Feb. 27.

REAGAN AIRPORT
Project Journey will attempt to improve passengers’ experience and increase the airport’s capacity, MWAA President and CEO John Potter said in a July 2017 news release.

The board of directors  of the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority kicked off the broader $1 billion renovation project, “Project Journey,” in March 2017. The airport, originally designed to handle 15 million passengers annually, has strained to accommodate the 23 million passengers who passed through it in 2016.

Project Journey will attempt to improve passengers’ experience and increase the airport’s capacity, MWAA President and CEO John Potter said in a July 2017 news release.

“Today, more than 23 million passengers travel through the airport—straining its infrastructure, crowding travelers and hampering our ability to provide best-in-class customer service. Project Journey will transform and improve the passenger experience,” Potter said in a March 2017 news release.

In summer 2017, the MWAA began constructing new security checkpoints in terminals B and C. The plan aims to build two new security checkpoints with 28 screening lanes by 2020. The MWAA also plans to replace bus operations from gate 35X and end outdoor boarding by constructing the 14-gate concourse by the end of 2021.

The construction efforts will affect passengers minimally, as they are confined primarily to fenced or walled-off sections of the airport that are separated from public areas, according to the MWAA. MWAA Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Margaret McKeough said the construction will not significantly change passengers’ experiences.

“In many ways, the passenger experience during Project Journey construction will not functionally change,” McKeough said in the July 2017 news release. “Arriving passengers will use the same pathways they use today, but roadway and curbside changes outside the baggage claim level of Terminal B/C will be noteworthy. We will work hard to keep everyone informed of significant events that could affect their journey.”

“Project Journey” includes plans to restructure the parking and roadways to better accommodate many passeners. Paul Malandrino, vice president and airport manager of Reagan National Airport, recommended passengers use the Metro or airport parking facilities to mitigate congestion. Passengers arriving to the airport by car will need extra time to reach the terminal because of congestion, especially during afternoons and late at night, the busiest times of day.

“We advise passengers to consider using Metro or one of our parking facilities to avoid adding to the congestion,” Malandrino said in the July 2017 news release. “Customers coming to the airport by car will need extra time to navigate the roadway system — especially on afternoons and late at night when traffic is the busiest.”

The MWAA also intends to improve dining and shopping choices for passengers after they pass through security checkpoints and to build spacious waiting areas with integrated power outlets.

Passengers can receive updates about construction delays or changes in the normal airport operations from the construction advisories webpage.

“Project Journey” will maintain the airport’s architectural features like exposed metal beams, glass walls and domed ceilings. It will also maximize views of downtown Washington, D.C., and ensure gates are easily navigable. However, “Project Journey” will not expand the airport’s aircraft capacity.

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