RDU wants to build a 6,150-space parking deck. It is expected to take at least three years to build the $140 million project. In the meantime, the Airport Authority says there will be growing pains -- 800 parking spaces will be lost during construction.
"I don't think there's a way to avoid construction, but you always have to be real hesitant to add on more construction," says traveler John Stephenson. "Getting rid of parking spaces, that are scarce as it is, is probably a bad thing."
RDU spokesman Mike Blanton says travelers should still have places to park at the airport.
"Even with the net loss of 800 spaces because of this project between the terminals, we feel between Park and Ride 4 being expanded and Park and Ride Lot 3 and other parking improvements elsewhere on the grounds that we'll be OK in terms of capacity," he says.
By 2004, the airport hopes to have the new parking deck open for business. They also hope they get an exemption to North Carolina's bid law that could prevent some of the delays they had with the just-completed deck.
The new 2,700-space deck opened a year behind schedule. The airport had to deal with three low-bidding contractors. The exemption would allow them to deal with one contractor, even if it is not the low bidder.
"It's going to put the Airport Authority in a position to better manage a project of this magnitude," Blanton says.
Crews are building the interim South Concourse that will clear the way for a major expansion of Terminal A. In eight years, they want a total of 30,000 parking spaces.
Construction is expected to start on the new parking deck in February.