Hartsfield-Jackson to begin heavy lifting of canopy construction


The first truss of steel will soon be lifted into the air to begin building massive curbside canopies at Hartsfield-Jackson International — and that means traffic congestion for travelers trying to navigate around the world’s busiest airport.

This Sunday, trusses will be moved from a staging area to the terminal curbside roads to start the heavy lifting of the project. Each truss will span about 195 feet to cover eight lanes of curbside roads, and will soar more than 73 feet above the roadway.

The price tag for the canopies and other terminal improvements: $265 million, which is $102.5 million more than originally expected. As the idea for the canopies was being developed, plans became more complex, the scope grew and the cost skyrocketed.

The canopies will be made up of 38 trusses of steel rolled in Chicago, fabricated in Lubbock and assembled in Atlanta.

Stretching from the parking garages to the terminal on each side of the building, one aim of the canopies is to shelter people walking from the garages to the terminal on new pedestrian bridges intended to increase safety and reduce traffic congestion.

The translucent covering of the canopies will be similar to that used on the roof on the new Mercedes-Benz stadium: a plastic-like material known as ETFE, or ethylene tetrafluoroethylene.

The massive canopies will also be illuminated with 3,708 lights, creating what officials hope will be an iconic entrance for Hartsfield-Jackson.

“We will create a dramatic gateway to the world’s busiest airport,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at a press conference Thursday, adding that he thinks it will be “another architectural signature for the city of Atlanta.” The lights of the canopy will allow it to be lit with different colors, such as red for a Falcons win or pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Reed acknowledged the traffic frustrations people are already experiencing due to airport construction.

“There’s an awful lot of people on Twitter with an awful lot of complaints,” he said. “I believe the finished product will be worth it.”

Some lanes have already been closed over the past year to prepare the curbside area for 38 concrete piers to be installed into the ground that will hold up the canopies. The closures cause vehicles to back up onto roads approaching the terminal during busy periods.

And it’s about to get worse.

Airport officials advise travelers to arrive at the airport an extra half hour before their flight. More lane closures will be coming. The work will go on for the next year and a half.

The airport tested out lane closures overnight Sunday and Monday as it prepares for increased traffic disruption starting this weekend.

“We know there will be some inconvenience,” said Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Roosevelt Council. “Every day, we’re meeting to see what we can do better.”

MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT.

AJC Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi keeps you updated on the latest news about Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Delta Air Lines and the airline industry in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in local business news. Subscribe to myAJC.com.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Growth in tech jobs contributing to rise in Atlanta office rents
Growth in tech jobs contributing to rise in Atlanta office rents

The Atlanta area saw some of the largest increases in office rents on a percentage basis in North America over the past two years, and one report said the region’s boom in high-tech jobs has played a role in that. Metro Atlanta ranked third among the Top 30 tech markets in overall office rent growth, with rates increasing nearly 18 percent from...
This app could reduce the dangers of concussions in young athletes
This app could reduce the dangers of concussions in young athletes

Startup of the week: Who they are: PRIVIT What they do: Their app seeks to keep young athletes safer by helping coaches and trainers report and properly treat concussions and other injuries and medical conditions. Why it’s cool: There’s been plenty of buzz recently about the dangers of concussions in impact sports — including the...
The future is here: Augmented reality apps to use on iPhone or iPad

With the release of an updated mobile operating system in October, Apple’s new augmented reality platform is ready for take-off. The first generation of AR apps is available in Apple’s App Store, allowing millions of iPhone and iPad users to view three-dimensional computer-generated graphics on top of a user’s real-world view. With...
Why I’m skipping wireless charging on my iPhone 8 Plus

I’ve had the iPhone 8 Plus for about a month now, and while on launch day I thought I’d be most excited about wireless charging, I’ve found I’ve abandoned my wireless charger in favor of fast charging. I’ve come to like wireless charging when I’ve used Samsung’s phones, as it’s quite speedy, but Apple...
Rock out with sporty-designed headphones
Rock out with sporty-designed headphones

Listening to a Tom Petty music marathon is great, but making it better in my world was hearing the legendary music on the Soul X-TRA over-the-ear wireless (Bluetooth) headphones. The headphones smooth sound, comfort, and the sporty design were all much appreciated. The sound is promoted as “Advanced HD drivers and circuitry design for a balanced...
More Stories