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Changes for travelers: Beware of construction at Mitchell Int’l Airport

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- There are big changes taking place at Mitchell International Airport -- and they will be especially noticeable for people picking someone up, or travelers waiting to get picked-up.

The entire baggage claim area is being re-done. The whole project will take about a year. They expect the first stage to be done in July.

“This is a $45 million replacement of the baggage claim facility, so this entire building is being replaced. As part of that they are replacing the roadway outside, the baggage claim curb , the traffic island an they’re also installing a glass canopy over the traffic lanes. So it’s an impressive project. It’s going to be beautiful when it’s done and we have short term inconvenience now,” explained Harold Mester, Public Relations for Mitchell International Airport.

Right now the bulk of the construction is happening at the pick-up area, and that means pick-up is taking place on the same side as ticketing drop-off now.

“Our goal is to get most of the traffic over. We understand there will be a few cars that don`t make it for whatever reason but this is going to be in place for quite a while and people will adjust,” said Mester.  “During peak hours we’re expecting traffic to be quite congested and that’s why hourly parking is the best suggestion.”

Officials admit it may take some getting used to, but they say this project is a necessity.

“This building dates back to the 1950’s and travelers have become accustomed to walking out one side of the building, but during this construction phase, they will have to go out the other side if they are getting picked up by a friend or family member. If you are taking a shuttle or a bus you will go out the same side,” said Mester.

To make things even easier on travelers, airport officials added signage around the airport, have extra staff available, and have put together a few key points:

• The best option for drivers to avoid delays is to use Hourly Parking. Free parking has been extended to one hour, offering plenty of time to meet arriving passengers in the terminal.
• Passengers being picked up by friends or family should encourage drivers to meet them in Hourly Parking rather than the Baggage Claim curb. The first hour of parking is free.
• Drivers who choose not to use Hourly Parking should expect delays on the Ticketing/Baggage Claim roadway. Arriving passengers should use the exits behind the escalators opposite from the usual exit to the Baggage Claim roadway. Drivers can meet passengers at Passenger Pickup Areas A and B, located on the shared Ticketing/Baggage Claim roadway.
• Additional signage and staff have been added to assist drivers and arriving passengers. There will be no changes for passengers accessing shuttles and buses.