Preliminary work is about to begin on a massive renovation project at Washington Reagan National Airport.
Airport officials this week released an animated video (below) of what the overall facility and its new security checkpoints will look like after all the work is finished, which won’t be for about four years. It will bring the biggest changes to DCA since its Terminals B and C opened almost 20 years ago.
Although the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority had always looked to Dulles International to handle the region’s long-term growth in air traffic, it seems that passengers continue to prefer the short trip to close-in Reagan National over a long journey out to IAD, so DCA’s passenger numbers have been setting records every year. Last year they topped 23 million, well above the airport’s capacity.
The primary goal of the big renovation is to reduce congestion in the terminals. One big piece of the project will be construction of a new concourse for commuter and regional flights on the north side of the airport. Once it opens, passengers will no longer have to use what the Washington Post has called the airport’s most “notorious choke point,” Gate 35X, where they board shuttle buses to get to their aircraft. That will require demolition of the airport’s executive offices and a couple of hangars.
National Hall, which offers dining and retail venues along a glass-enclosed walkway on the Terminal B and C concourse level, will also get a makeover, with security screening moved to the arrival level.
The plan also involves work on airport roadways and construction of a new parking garage. Much of the roadway work will be done at night to minimize inconvenience to passengers. The overall project is expected to cost about $1 billion.
Which DC area airport do you prefer? Why?
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