Phase II project to begin at airport

By Justin Boron

Workers at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will begin ripping up the road that runs curbside to the Terminal North as early as today, beginning Phase II of the massive construction project that will relocate baggage screeners to an area below the main terminal.

Transportation officials anticipate the repositioning of the screeners will create a more secure environment for baggage inspection and streamline the check-in process for airline passengers.

The new system is scheduled to be operational during the fourth quarter of 2005.

The second part of the project will restrict access even more than the first phase which only blocked off the outer lanes of the drop-off areas of each side of the terminal, said Felicia Browder, the public relations assistant manager for the Department of Aviation.

"It will be more impactful . . . people are not going to have the curb for dropoffs," she said.

Portions of the the four inner traffic lanes will be closed.

But airport officials are hopeful that delays and congestion will be averted by several rerouting strategies, signage, and increased customer service help.

"The engineers working on the project are revamping the flow of everything to accommodate everybody," Browder said. "People will still be able to come and go quickly."

Capacity lost will be made up by the Kiss 'N Fly areas, she said.

There will be bridges and walkways from the hourly parking decks over the construction area, Browder said.

Drivers dropping off will be able to use areas before and after the north terminal.

But for pick ups, drivers are encouraged to park in the hourly lot, which Browder said was relatively inexpensive for short periods of time.

Aviation General Manager Ben DeCosta said the airport was working hard to make the construction process as convenient as possible, but asks passengers for patience.

"The entire airport community has collaborated on every aspect of this project to ensure the safe completion of phase one," he said. "As construction crews move forward into phase two, we will appreciate the same support and patience that travelers have displayed since the project began this summer."