Even if drivers know their way to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, they might have to take a new route to terminals during the week of the Democratic National Convention.
Airport officials will cover airport signs and erect temporary message boards, said aviation director Jerry Orr at a Wednesday news conference. The electronic boards will be the main direction for drivers to get to the terminals.
Officials did not give specific details but said that on the busiest days, they will create alternate traffic routes, including switching lanes to make traffic more efficient. Details will be broadcast at 1610 AM.
Most of the new signs will be on airport property, but some message boards may go up on Billy Graham Parkway, said Haley Gentry, an airport spokeswoman.
DNC volunteers and airport staff will be stationed at crucial points to help direct traffic or assist confused drivers.
“You will probably see people in the flow of traffic as people are approaching the terminal,” Gentry said. “The key to keeping traffic moving is having people physically working traffic in front of the terminal building.”
Orr did not have specific routes in mind for visitors to take to the airport, but he said Wilkinson Boulevard would probably be a driver’s best bet.
“It depends on the influx or out-flux of alternating traffic patterns,” he said.
Orr also recommended that travelers print their boarding passes at home or at a hotel before getting to the airport.
Convention traffic will not affect parking because most people flying in for the convention won’t have their own cars, Gentry said.
People taking private cars from the airport will leave through the airport’s lower level, while those taking commercial transportation will be directed upstairs.
That news might make Sarosh Azad, the owner of Metro Executive Car Service, a little happier. He said he often dreads traffic jams at pickup and drop-off areas at the airport.
“This airport needs serious expansion at drop-off and pickup locations,” he said, adding that he’s not usually allowed to use the upstairs lanes for customers.
Azad said serving regulars is more important than cashing in on DNC visitors.
“It takes an effort to build a regular customer, and the business is not thriving, it’s an ongoing struggle,” he said. “When you have regular customers who travel every week, you really have to take care of them.” Staff writer Mark Price contributed to this story.