Editor's Note: 'Our Colorado' stories help natives and newcomers navigate the challenges related to our rapidly growing state, including real estate and development, homelessness, transportation and more. To comment on this or other 360 stories, email us at OurCO@TheDenverChannel.com. See more 'Our Colorado' stories here.
DENVER — If you walk into Denver International Airport anytime soon, be prepared. It’s different. Way different.
“It’s very confusing,” said passenger Kendra Bird. “I fly in and out of here all the time, and I can’t even figure out how to get around.”
“Right now – it’s a little chaotic and confusing,” said Eric Swanson who was picking up a friend.
At the moment, there are at least a dozen areas tarped and walled off in the main terminal, as the Great Hall expansion takes off.
“Behind these walls, we’re doing demolition and preparing for construction,” said DIA spokeswoman Emily Williams.
And it’s not just the Great Hall renovations.
Just this week, DIA received a $14 million grant from the FAA to improve crumbling sections of runways, as well.
“We will be replacing some of the concrete. We’re also, adding LED lighting along one of our runways,” Williams said. “It’s obviously vital to the airport and something that is very important to us.”
The airport is undergoing a massive makeover, inside and out, in part because of unrestrained growth in Colorado.
When they built it in 1995, their wildest prediction called for 50 million passengers a year at the end of the airport’s life. This year alone, the airport will top 61 million passengers.
“If you think about when the airport was built, the TSA, the Dept. of Homeland Security didn’t exist,” Williams said.
Level 6 will get the biggest makeover. Security will be moved from the floor on Level 5 - up to Level 6.
The redesign could cut security wait-times in half.
An airport built for the 21st century needs of the region, but now a global hub in one of the fastest growing cities in America.