Construction on new Reagan National Airport security area to start this month

WASHINGTON — Major construction on a large new security area at Reagan National Airport is set to pick up soon, as plans move forward for the new commuter concourse that will replace the dreaded Gate 35X.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has now received official construction proposals for the new security area between the Metro and the existing terminal, and is in negotiations over the contract, according to documents prepared for the authority’s board.

The $163.5 million project, due to be completed by late 2020, is scheduled to start construction work this month.

Construction on the new security area, which will move the checkpoints for terminals B and C, is expected to have significant impacts on drivers dropping off or picking up people at the airport since the work will require lane closures on an already-congested roadway system.

This past weekend, the additional traffic due to the Metro station closure created backups on the George Washington Parkway and U.S. 1, as well as the road inside the airport, even without the lane closures.

Despite limits on the number and types of flights from the airport, the number of people flying in and out of Reagan National is expected to continue to grow, Airports Authority budget projections show.

Through 2022, the authority expects more passengers to continue to use Reagan National each year over Dulles International Airport, even though the growth rate at Dulles is expected to be somewhat higher.

Getting rid of 35X

Separate work has already begun for the new $360 million commuter jet concourse that will provide 14 actual gates for those flights rather than the shuttle buses to stairs on the tarmac that are in place today.

The airport is shifting the plane parking spots to create room for construction. More building demolition is due to be completed by the end of the year.

Final designs for the concourse building are due in November, with construction on the building itself scheduled to move forward in February. The new gates are expected to open in the summer of 2021.

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