Corporate hangar, I-85 road connection for airport on City Council agenda

A $1.8 million expansion to Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s corporate hangar and plans for a new road connecting the terminal directly to Interstate 85 are on Charlotte City Council’s agenda Monday.

The hangar renovations will be at the airport’s Group Hangar III. The project will add 6,000 square feet of office space to the hangar, which was originally built in 2007. Charlotte Douglas will also add a 32-space parking lot, covered with a canopy, to the corporate hangar.

The airport is currently in the midst of its $21.5 million new entrance road project. Now, the airport is seeking City Council’s permission for a plan to build a road connection directly to I-85. That will add about $1.3 million to the cost, which the airport originally thought the state would cover.

The airport currently doesn’t have direct interstate access to the terminal. The plan had been to let the N.C. Department of Transportation build the airport’s new entrance road north of Wilkinson Blvd., while Charlotte Douglas would build the portion south of Wilkinson.

But the airport now plans to build both portions of the road itself, after buying the land from the transportation department. Interim Assistant Aviation Director Jack Christine said the state’s environmental studies, triggered by the plan to use federal money to pay for the road, weren’t completed.

The airport can pay for the road itself and complete it in time to tie in with the southern portion of the new runway, Christine said. “We’re shooting to have it done by the holidays, but that’s very weather-dependent,” he said. If the northern and southern parts of the new entrance road aren’t completed at the same time, Christine said it will be “very problematic” for passengers to use the new road.

Both items are on the council’s consent agenda, in which council members vote on dozens of items at the same time. The consent agenda typically passes without discussion.