Construction at CLE Hopkins Could Mean Passenger Delays.
Cleveland Hopkins Airport is in the midst of a major renovation and the experience for passengers is likely to be difficult for the holidays. City Council members toured the construction sites today (Wed) and ideastream’s Mark Urycki tagged along.
There are probably more people at Hopkins with hard hats than with suitcases these days. The canopy over the ticketing entrance is being extended to protect against rain, revolving doors are replacing sliding doors to save energy, and new ceilings are going in above all the ticket counters. Chief engineer Hugh Holley says that it’s about 50% done.
“This started in May, parts of it. We did that section first in probably May, early June. And then we just kept progressing down. And we’re going to do it in phasing so we don’t affect every airline at the same time.”
The counters at United, Southwest Jet Blue, and Air Canada are done. Still to be completed are Frontier, Delta, Spirit and American Airlines.
Away from view, an enormous baggage handling and screening system will be installed to replace the individual systems each airline now uses. The TSA is paying for 90% of that $27 million dollar upgrade.
In the coming weeks as holiday travel takes off, Hopkins officials estimate an additional 9000 passengers each day. The chair of City Council’s Transportation Committee Martin Keane acknowledges that lines will be extra long.
“We just walked through the corridor up there by ticketing and we couldn’t get through as a group. Imagine if there was a queue of travelling public and then people trying to get through. It’s going to be a huge disruption this holiday season. “
Keane says the work is long overdue but necessary to keep and attract businesses and people. For many, it's their first impression of Cleveland.
“It’s critical. I mean this is an economic driver. This is the engine to a lot of our business travelers and the recreational. If you want to come and we’re promoting the city from corner to corner right? And this is where it starts. We need to provide them the best possible experience that we can.”
Other projects include building roofs over the now open red and blue surface parking lots and the installation of all new signage. Officials hope to accomplish as much as they can before the Republican National Convention in July.