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

Report: This is the hottest (little-known) career in America right now
Report: This is the hottest (little-known) career in America right now

The hottest job in America may be one you've never heard of, but demand for people who can fulfill the roll is very high – as is its starting pay. If you're qualified to be a data scientist, according to Bloomberg, you may find companies fighting for your services. Andrew Gardner, a senior machine learning manager in Atlanta at Symantec...
Former Atlanta airport executive says others knew of possible conflict
Former Atlanta airport executive says others knew of possible conflict

A Hartsfield-Jackson International executive fired earlier this year because of his wife’s ties to a concessionaire says that before he was hired he met with former Mayor Kasim Reed’s brother who, along with the airport manager at the time, knew about the potential conflict. Cortez Carter’s contention — that Tracy Reed was involved...
Atlanta man in legal tussle with ambitious housing start-up
Atlanta man in legal tussle with ambitious housing start-up

The real estate industry is replete with tech-savvy start-up companies aiming to disrupt a massive market, but sometimes the disruptors get disrupted. Take the case of Divvy Homes vs. Matthew Cardinale. Friday, a judge in Fulton County Superior Court will consider whether to break the contract between the company and a frustrated wannabe homeowner...
Atlanta City Council approves $130 million generators for Hartsfield-Jackson
Atlanta City Council approves $130 million generators for Hartsfield-Jackson

The Atlanta City Council on Monday approved $130 million for airport generators in the wake of a massive blackout in December. The generators would power the entire airport in the event of another full outage, according to officials at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Short-term financing will pay for the generators, which will...
Knock is one of the ambitious entries in Atlanta real estate
Knock is one of the ambitious entries in Atlanta real estate

Knock, Inc., a venture-backed start-up, has plans to disrupt the housing market, and it has picked Atlanta as one of its first two targets. The San Francisco-based company, which actually set up shop in Atlanta more than a year ago has moved to boost its profile in recent months, working with homeowners who wants to sell their property, then buy another...
More Stories