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Airport Improvements Delayed, But Not Derailed

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RDU INTERNATIONAL — Traveling can be a major headache, especially the first leg of the trip: getting to the airport terminal. Construction and traffic jams continue atRDU International, but not for much longer, officials hope.

RDU officials expect to know by the end of the month why the airport's new parking deck is five months behind schedule.

The deck was supposed to be ready for this summer's Special Olympics World Games, and theU.S. Open. Instead, it will open in December at the earliest.

There will be other improvements in time for the summer, though. By the end of May, two new lanes in front of Terminal A will be open. One lane will be a bypass lane for people trying to get to Terminal C. The other lane will be for airport shuttle buses.

Airport spokesperson Mike Blanton says he believes everyone involved in the project at Terminal A understands its urgency.

"We are fairly confident on the two extra lanes of traffic. We've made that a priority. I think everybody working on the project understands why it's a critical priority at this point, with the U.S. Open coming in and the Special Olympics hitting us both in the same month this summer, it's going to be imperative that we have these additional lanes," Blanton says.

The airport is also working on the paving of Park and Ride Lot Four. The parking area is currently a dirt lot, and has been for years. The lot gets dusty when it's dry, and muddy when it's wet, and is a source of driver complaints.

The lot is used primarily for big events, and by holiday travelers during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
Gil Hollingsworth, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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