Published by The Gazette | Nov 16 2012 | Written by Wayne Heilman
Expect a few changes if you are flying out of the Colorado Springs Airport during the Thanksgiving holiday week and haven’t been to the passenger terminal lately.
Construction continues on parts of a $20.3 million project to expand the airport’s security checkpoint for new passenger screening equipment and the remodeling of two restaurants near the checkpoint; earlier projects have been completed that changed the way checked baggage is screened and relocate some airport offices as well as consolidate the airport’s operations and communications centers. Airport officials don’t expect either of the ongoing construction projects, which began earlier this year, to cause any delays for passengers.
The checkpoint project will be completed in mid-January, when new full-body scanners like those used at Denver International Airport and many other airports are expected to be installed. The project, which eventually will triple the size of the checkpoint, already has resulted in a new configuration for the screening lines as well as a new area where passengers wait to be screened and will allow the airport to create a new line for “premium passengers” as well as active-duty military personnel traveling on orders.
The restaurant renovations are expected to be complete before Christmas and will pave the way for Denver-based Novo Coffee to replace an A&W fast-food eatery and the Bristol Tap Room, a restaurant and bar operated by Bristol Brewing Co. that will be similar to the brewery’s tasting room south of the downtown area, to replace the Gordon Biersch restaurant. All of the restaurants in the airport’s passenger terminal are operated by SSP America, which operates more than 200 restaurants in 40 North American airports.
Travelers to DIA also can expect to have to dodge some construction — traffic on the west side of the passenger terminal is being detoured as a result of an expansion of the airport’s South Terminal to add a 500-room Westin Hotel and a light-rail station, both expected to be completed in 2016.
Officials from both airports are expecting a busy week and advise travelers to arrive 1½ to two hours before their flight is scheduled to depart. Ample parking is expected to be available at both airports, although DIA’s economy lots usually reach capacity during peak travel periods such as the Thanksgiving holiday week.