Reagan National’s $660M expansion nearly ready for takeoff
The journey is nearing its end at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, which started work in 2017 on a new concourse and two additional security checkpoints. Known collectively as “Project Journey,” the nearly $660 million expansion is expected to be finished by the third quarter of 2021.
Overseen by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), which operates the Reagan and Dulles airports, Project Journey includes a 225,000-square-foot building that will house a new concourse and two security checkpoint buildings between the Metrorail station and the departures curb at Reagan. The new $391.5 million, 14-gate concourse will end the need for shuttle buses to and from the terminal. Reston-based Turner Construction Co. is overseeing the construction of the concourse and the $267.2 million checkpoints.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic was bad news for airlines, airports and travel businesses, the construction team took advantage of the pause in activity to move ahead faster on the project.
Prior to the pandemic, “several aspects of construction had to be limited to confined spaces and overnight work to avoid slowing passenger movement,” says Ryan Wolfgang, supervisory construction engineer for MWAA. With reduced traffic, crews have been able to advance their work. For example, crews completed the installation of underground fuel piping approximately one year sooner than originally planned. The concourse is set to be open by next summer, and the two checkpoints will be in use by fall 2021. National Hall, the existing main hall connecting the concourses of Terminals B and C, will be reconfigured as a waiting area for travelers.
Eateries that will be located in the new concourse will include Falls Church-based Elevation Burger and others from the D.C. metro area, including Founding Farmers, Timber Pizza Co. and Mezeh Mediterranean Grill.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) also has been reconstructing the Metrorail platform at the airport this year, a project that was supposed to start in fall 2022 but was started early due to deteriorating conditions.
A few other changes: “To keep travelers safe during the pandemic, the airport made touchless technology upgrades and installed hundreds of hand-sanitizing stations, numerous acrylic barriers and stickers for social distancing,” which will extend to the new areas, Wolfgang says. “In addition, the project will provide generous room for ticketed travelers with new facilities open.”