Tampa International Airport has begun work on a project designed to make things easier on air passengers who travel light.
The airport is building 16 new express curbsides tailored to passengers without checked luggage. The new curbsides make the airport more efficient by allowing guests to bypass the ticketing level or baggage claim areas, via a new vertical circulation building, a news release said.
They are one part of the $534 million, Phase 2 master plan expansion. The expansion also includes a central utility plant that will help the airport run more efficiently and sustainably, and a concessions loading dock. The old administration building will be demolished.
A SkyCenter commercial development also is part of the Phase 2 plan. The 35-acre site will have a new nine-story office building, hotel and retail space. Located near the rental car center, it will also connect to the Tampa Bay’s regional trail system.
The airport broke ground on the Phase 2 plan Tuesday.
“This groundbreaking and this phase of the Master Plan is all about innovation and preparing for the future,” said Joe Lopano, TIA CEO. “We are seeing what is coming at us, and we’re being proactive in preparing for the future.”
The airport served 21 million passengers in fiscal 2018 and expects that number to increase by about 62 percent.
“This new curbside project is part of an expansion plan that will allow this airport to serve 34 million passengers every year – and that matters,” said Robert Watkins, who chairs the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority. “As this community – and state – continues to prosper and grow, this airport must also continue to grow to serve it.”
The eight blue side curbsides are scheduled to be done in 2022. Work on the eight red side curbsides will start once the administration building is demolished and are scheduled for completion in 2024.
Hensel Phelps will build the new curbsides while HNTB is responsible for the design.
“We’re going to take this structure that exists today and turn it into one of the most innovative curbsides in the United States,” said Kirk Hazen, vice president and district manager for Hensel Phelps.
The curbsides also will prepare for a new airside, said Len Becker, HNTB senior vice president.
Phase 3 of the master plan expansion calls for building a new Airside D.