Posted: 3:34 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013

Driving delays at airport could intensify during holidays

By Sarah Rosario

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Construction and traffic delays at Charlotte Douglas are already causing headaches for drivers, and with the holidays just around the corner, airport officials are expecting it to get worse.

Eyewitness News found out what's being done to deal with the rush.

Some passengers told Eyewitness News traffic around the airport is quite a hassle.

Anyone who goes to the airport can hear the construction underway and see plenty of closed signs as crews work on planned upgrades.

"It threw me off today because I had specific plans to walk in and meet somebody but it just didn't work out," said Harry Cronin. He said he doesn't mind the noise but said he wasn't expecting to see such a delay.

Travelers were mixed about the progress.

"I think it's a positive thing for the city to know that the airport is growing. It's making it more accessible to more people," said traveler Mark Wise.

Interim Deputy Aviation Director Jack Christine said with more than 30 projects underway and the holidays approaching, it's only going to get worse.

"We want you to pack your patience, allow extra time and check that website before you get to the airport," he said.

Airport officials said the website lists traffic updates and construction projects in real time. The work underway, which includes a new hourly parking deck, and improvements to the airport entrance road is all part of a one billion dollar capital investment program that began two years ago. While passengers look forward to the finished product, many said they can't imagine the mess it will cause this holiday season.

"Thanksgiving is going to be crazy, I'm certain. I won't be traveling at that time actually," Wise said.

Airport officials said they have a parking plan they use during holiday travel. Eyewitness News was told it will be listed on the website, but officials said it will be just as important for people to pay attention to the changing signage.

Christine said the street closures on rental car road and airport loop roads that began this week are set reopen before Thanksgiving.

Channel 9 was also told sections of Little Rock Road and Old Dowd Road closed now should be done before then, too. An inbound lane on Josh Birmingham Parkway to the terminal could open in December. Airport officials said it will create a more direct path to the Airport.

Channel 9 was told the entrance road project is on schedule and is set to be completed by fall of 2014.

For a complete list of ongoing projects at the airport and when they're set to be complete, click here.

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