Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has launched an awareness outreach campaign ahead of the commencement of Ronald Regan Washington National Airport construction work coined ‘Project Journey’.
Included in the campaign is an expanded Project Journey website with construction advisories and opt-in alerts on the latest project developments and impacts on airport customers. Other outreach components will include in-terminal signage, information desks, airline passenger messages and electronic wayfinding tools.
The US$1bn multi-year project hopes to transform the passenger experience by freeing up movement inside Terminal B/C for ticketed passengers by 2020, and ending the use of buses to remotely parked aircraft at Gate 35X by 2021.
Margaret McKeough, Airports Authority executive vice president and chief operating officer, said, “In many ways, the passenger experience during Project Journey construction will not functionally change.
“Departing passengers will continue using the existing roadways, walkways, ticket counters and security checkpoints with few exceptions. 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.”
Construction adjacent to the lower-level arrivals roadway in front of Terminal B/C will produce the most noticeable traffic impacts from later this year. Initial work on the roadway will cut through the median and add two sections of wider pavement to allow for future traffic pattern shifts.
The shifts will affect traffic along the inner and outer roadways adjacent to the baggage claim areas. The structure will be built overhead in phases with changes announced in advance through the Project Journey website and email advisories, and managed through temporary signage and additional staffing.
The project’s most significant impacts will be felt when lane closures in front of Terminal B/C combine with peak traffic periods on the airport roadway system.
Over the next few months, passengers will see the gradual removal of buildings within the footprint of the New Commuter Concourse construction zone. The old Airports Authority headquarters building will be torn down first, followed by two aircraft hangars.
The area will be fenced off, avoiding disruption to Gate 35X busing and aircraft boarding operations. Construction of the 14-gate concourse is expected to begin in 2018, in tandem with re-grading of adjacent land that will support storm water drainage when the project is completed in 2021.
Paul Malandrino, vice president and airport manager, commented, “We advise passengers to consider using Metro or one of our parking facilities to avoid adding to the congestion. 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.”
To help passengers, the airport will deploy additional police and passenger assistance staff to keep people and traffic moving. Behind the scenes, key staff from multiple disciplines will work together in a command center environment to monitor airport conditions and proactively deploy resources where they are needed.