Curbside expansion at Tampa Airport wins project of the year

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The Blue Express Curbsides Expansion project at Tampa International Airport (TPA) in Florida has been named the 2022 Commercial Service Airport Project of the Year by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

According to FDOT, the Commercial Service Airport Project of the Year award is given to a Florida airport that demonstrates ‘outstanding achievements in aesthetics, safety and service’.

Howard Needles Tammen and Bergendoff (HNTB) was the designer and architect of record for the project. The project, which began in November 2021, was designed to expedite time to and from the gates for passengers without checked baggage. The express lanes are part of the second phase of the airport’s masterplan, which aims to decongest the main terminal facilities and improve future capacity. As part of this project, lanes have doubled along the Blue Side for arrivals and departures. Since most passengers do not check bags, Express Curbsides were envisioned to enable passengers to bypass the ticketing or bag claim levels and improve the overall passenger experience. Passengers dropped off at the Blue Express Curbsides can take the elevator, escalator or stairs up one level to the main terminal transfer level, where they can take a shuttle to the airside TSA security checkpoint, thus eliminating the need to walk through the ticketing level.

For arriving travelers, it’s also a short walk from the main terminal to the Blue Express pick-up level, where they meet their driver and avoid baggage claim altogether. This faster option also assists with the flow of passenger traffic throughout TPA and helps alleviate the build-up of long lines at check-in, security and various other areas throughout the airport. Furthermore, construction is currently underway to make way for eight additional express curbsides to be added to the airport’s Red Side as another part of the expansion masterplan. The Red Side curbs are expected to be complete in 2025.

In addition to adding capacity and convenience, the Blue Express curbsides include architectural features that were created to convey the look and feel of the Tampa Bay region. The roof and lighting represent the ocean, while abstract artwork depicts indigenous plant life. TPA also commissioned two public art pieces and included passenger amenities such as oversized chairs with charging capacity, plus restrooms and large spaces to traverse.

Joe Lopano, CEO of TPA, said, “Passenger needs and expectations are changing. Our Blue Express curbsides will better serve our guests and enhance an already smooth experience. On top of that, we’ll also be making our main terminal more efficient, decongesting busy areas and helping us prolong the life of our facilities.”

To read more updates from Tampa Airport, click here.

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