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Terminal expansion underway at Portland Jetport

News

Terminal expansion underway at Portland Jetport

PORTLAND — A $75 million terminal expansion is underway at the Portland International Jetport, designed to add gates and separate inbound and outbound passengers.

Crews began work at the Jetport last month, and visitors will find rerouted traffic patterns to get to the existing terminal.

Airport Director Paul Bradbury said the terminal expansion, which has been planned for several years, will make getting in and out of the Jetport easier not only because the size of the terminal will nearly double, but passenger and bag security will also be upgraded.

Security screening lanes for passengers checking in will be doubled to eight, Bradbury said. For passengers checking baggage, the screening system will no longer require Transportation Security Administration officers to lug bags from the baggage check-in station to the screening machines and back to the baggage check-in stations.

A federal grant is paying for a baggage screening system, or Explosion Detection System, to be installed in the baggage handling area of the Jetport, so passengers will just have to hand their bags over to an airport clerk.

"There will be no more shuffling bags around," Bradbury said.

The expansion was designed by Gensler Architects, a firm with offices around the world, including one in Boston. The addition will be open and airy, with glass walls and wood beams across the ceiling.

Arriving vehicles will drive under the new terminal to pick up or drop off passengers. Travelers who park in the garage will be able to access the terminal from a skywalk.

The Portland International Jetport has 1.8 million arriving and departing passengers annually. The project is mostly funded through an airport revenue bond and will be paid back through Passenger Facility Charges and terminal rent revenue. It will also be funded through the TSA grant for the baggage system and the Jetport fund balance.

Bradbury said it does not cost "1 cent" in local or state tax dollars.

Construction is expected to take 22 months create 90 to 100 jobs, he said.

A computer-generated video of the expansion can be viewed by going to portlandjetport.org and selecting the Terminal Expansion Project link. Information on parking and traffic changes is also posted.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net