- The Washington Times - Monday, November 6, 2006

The “pardon our dust” signs finally are gone from BWI, as the last in a series of major construction projects at the airport is finished.

But at the region’s other two major airports — Ronald Reagan Washington National and Washington Dulles International airports — construction is far from over.

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport last week completed work on a $188 million terminal roadway, curbside and skywalk expansion designed to relieve congestion at the airport, which is operated by the Maryland Department of Transportation’s aviation administration.

The project added vehicle lanes to the upper and lower terminal roadways, expanded the curbside area for passenger drop-off and pickup, and added moving sidewalks, outdoor canopies, elevators and escalators, and aesthetic improvements to the terminal building.

The work caps a five-year, $1.4 billion capital improvement program that included a new terminal for Southwest Airlines last year, a consolidated rental car facility in 2003 and an 8,400-space daily parking garage in 2002.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has spent tens of millions of dollars in recent years upgrading Reagan and Dulles airports. But air passengers will continue to see construction at the Northern Virginia airports for years to come.

Restoration of the facade of Reagan’s historic Terminal A, which opened in 1941, is scheduled to begin later this year, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates Reagan and Dulles.

The authority plans to add a level onto Reagan’s parking garages A, B and C next year. Work on new restaurants is under way there and will continue into next year.

At Dulles, an automated underground train system is being built to replace most of the airport’s mobile lounges, which shuttle passengers between the main terminal and the concourses. Trains are scheduled to begin operating in 2009.

A new security screening mezzanine, also set to open in 2009, will double the number of screening lanes at the airport.

A new runway is under construction and scheduled to open in 2008, along with more gates and concessions at Concourse B.

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