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DENVER — New underground train cars are coming to the Denver International Airport. The Denver City Council approved a proposal Monday night to replace 16 of the system’s aging cars and add an additional 10 cars to the route.
The goal is to get passengers from the security checkpoints to their gates more quickly. It’s the airport’s latest move to accommodate an increasing number of travelers coming through the airport.
“The number of cars we're adding will add a whole new additional train which then helps us move these people faster,” DIA spokesperson Emily Williams said.
The $68.9 million project was awarded to the manufacturer Bombardier Transportation Holdings USA. This money is in addition to $162 million that had already been pledged to the manufacturer to increase the underground train system’s reliability over the next several years.
“There’s a lot of moving out here and we appreciate the support of city council and the mayor and really the traveling public. We know things are different out here right now but it’s all in an effort to make it easier to get through the airport,” Williams said.
Right now, DIA is the fifth busiest airport in the country. Last year alone, the terminal accommodated more than 60 million passengers. However, it’s intended use is for closer to 50 million.
“We need to update aging infrastructure to make it more efficient and safer for passengers coming in and out of the airport,” Williams said.
The updates to the Great Hall have already begun. The $1.8 billion project will take two years to complete and will update everything from the check-in stations to the curb drop-off to the security lines.
“We’re coming up on 25 years here and that means things get older. So as part of this program we are updating our escalators, elevators, our bathrooms, which we know people are excited about. Just bringing along our infrastructure to meet the needs of our millions of passengers,” Williams said.
The temporary walls that are already up in the Great Hall will stay there for about a year before the project progresses.
“The best thing to do is to follow our signage and also to ask. We’ve got a lot of people out on the terminal to help you get to where you need to go,” Williams said.
Another major part of that redevelopment project includes an expansion to the concourses themselves to add 39 new gates. Each of those will bring in more airplanes and more passengers. Work on that $1.5 billion expansion project has already gotten underway.
Construction on all of these projects is set to wrap up by the end of 2021.
“Denver International Airport is a huge economic driver for the state and we are seeing passengers come through every day so what we’re doing is really trying to make the passenger experience better, safer and more efficient,” Williams said.