Charlotte airport works on traffic solutions ahead of Christmas travel

CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Douglas International Airport is making changes to help with traffic over the holidays.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, people waited for over an hour in traffic outside the airport just to get to their terminals. It was the busiest time at the airport ever.

Now, airport officials say they’ve come up with long- and short-term solutions so it doesn’t happen again at Christmas time.

“I think they’ll be greatly impactful to the customer experience, and you absolutely will see a difference in sort of how things are moving and flowing,” Chief Operating Officer Jerome Woodard said.

The Charlotte airport is going to ramp up communication by using its signs to communicate real-time updates about how long it will take people to get to the terminal. Think of Disney World and the signs it has to tell people how much longer in line they have to wait.

The airport is also going to work with the North Carolina and Charlotte Departments of Transportation on signalization changes. Charlotte Douglas officials said during Thanksgiving, the timing of the lights hadn’t been adjusted on Wilkinson Boulevard and Josh Birmingham Parkway or their adjoining intersections. That resulted in backups.

And finally, the airport is going to take some of its shuttle buses and reroute them so they don’t have to sit in the same traffic. This applies to the Long Term, Express and employee buses.

The airport is not saying which route these buses will take because they are using a public street, and the airport doesn’t want this route to get overly crowded too.

“We don’t want to publicize it so much because I wouldn’t want regular passengers to try to utilize this route, because it is a public roadway,” Chief Operating Officer Jerome Woodard said.

Long term, the city will explore potentially moving the Uber and Lyft pickups. At one point, they considered moving them to the hourly parking deck, but nothing has been finalized.

The airport plans to add additional police officers to help direct traffic. Overall, officials are expecting traffic to not be as bad as Thanksgiving since Christmas travel tends to be more spread out.

(WATCH BELOW: Airport officials urge travelers to arrive early, be prepared for busy travel day)