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RDU Making No New Promises on Completion of Parking Deck

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RDU INTERNATIONAL — The new promise fromRDU Internationalregarding its new parking deck is that there are no more promises. The last projected completion date was for mid-March. With that already behind us, will the deck ever be completed?

The long-awaited, 2,700-space parking deck looks finished, but it is not. Crews are finishing up punch list items. The official word now is that it will be ready soon.

"About all I can say now, with the history of this project, is we're a lot closer than we have been, and I hesitate to put a time line on it," says RDU spokesman Mike Blanton.

The project, which began in February 1998, has had many potential completion dates:
  • RDU hoped to have the deck finished in June of 1999 in time for theSpecial Olympics World Summer Gamesand theU.S. Open Golf Tournament.
  • When that date was not met, airport officials said they would try to get the deck open before the holidays.
  • As Christmas passed, the completion date was changed to mid-March.Too few construction workers and too much rock in the ground have caused much of the delays.
  • The RDU Airport Authority says it is committed to getting the project done right and is committed to opening up desperately needed, additional parking spaces.

    Once the new deck is done, the parking deck construction is far from over at RDU. One of the next big projects is tearing down two service buildings in between the terminals and building another parking deck.

    The Airport Authority plans to double the size of Park and Ride Lot 3 near Interstate 40. That project should be ready by Thanksgiving.

    Four new parking decks are in the long-term plan. Terminal A will also be expanded. With all that construction, the Airport Authority is asking people to pack their patience when they travel.

    "We're doing as much as we can as quickly as we can, and we're going to be spending millions of dollars, and we have spent million of dollars, and we just ask the flying public to be patient with us," says Blanton.

    The number of passengers traveling through RDU more than tripled in 1999. With expansion like that, travelers can expect more growing pains.

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    Mark Roberts, Reporter
    Gil Hollingsworth, Photographer
    Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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