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Airport renovations on target

New section to open by end of April

Posted: Thursday, March 18, 2010

Renovations under way at the Juneau International Airport are on target to be substantially complete in October, and some new additions could be ready by the end of April, an airport official said.

But travelers to and from Juneau - especially during any of this year's infrequent snow storms - may have already noticed a change.

Six out of the 26 water to air heat pumps at the airport are now operational, Airport Architect Catherine Fritz said. The three water to water heat pumps needed for the ice melt system on the sidewalks are now working, too, meaning travelers are less likely to slip while walking to or from the airport's front doors in inclement weather.

The geothermal field could lead to up to $80,000 in annual energy savings, airport officials have said.

By the end of April, the new addition should be open. It will include the new down escalator, baggage belt and upstairs restrooms.

Work on the luggage belt was scheduled to begin Wednesday. The new belt, which is to be twice the old baggage belt's length and easier to access, should be operational in about three weeks.

After the end of April, the next step in renovations will be to close the TSA bag screening room, which will cause delays in bag processing for those leaving Juneau, Fritz said. During that period, which will last around two weeks, passengers will be required to get to the airport about two hours before departure so that bags can be hand-screened.

All work under way should be substantially complete by the end of October, she said.

The airport also made a request to Alaska's federal delegation for an earmark of $1 million to study the next phase of airport work - a renovation of the north wing, or covered parking, said Airport Manager Jeannie Johnson.

• Contact reporter Mary Catharine Martin at 523-2276 or maryc.martin@juneauempire.com.



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