New roadway at Charlotte airport on track for an early completion

The new roadway in front of Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s terminal is on track for completion in August 2018, about a year earlier than contractually required, officials said Friday.

Jack Christine, Chief Operating Officer at Charlotte’s airport, said during a tour Friday that the eight-lane roadway under construction now is ahead of schedule, in part because of an early completion bonus offered to contractors Flatiron and Blythe. Once the roadway is complete, the airport plans to turn immediately to construction on an expansion of the terminal lobby meant to relieve overcrowding.

The $50 million new roadway –with eight elevated lanes for departures and eight at ground level for arrivals – will consume 15,000 cubic yards of concrete and about a million pounds of steel rebar. Workers will start setting girders for the elevated lanes next month.

Crews have also begun to dig out the first part of new passenger tunnels that will run from the hourly parking deck to the terminal. The deep trenches, with hydraulic spanners reinforcing the sides and holding them up, are visible from the parking deck now. When completed, the tunnels will allow passengers to walk from the hourly parking deck and rental cars underground, without stopping traffic and dodging cars like they do now.

But don’t expect to use the tunnels anytime soon: The airport must complete the lobby expansion before the tunnels can be finished and connected to the terminal. That means it will likely be sometime in 2021 before the tunnels see any passengers.

“We’re asking for patience,” said Christine.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo