This week, millions of people will take to the air to visit family and friends for Thanksgiving.
At Charleston International Airport, which is undergoing a massive $189 million overhaul and expansion of its terminal building, passengers might find it a little easier to navigate through work zones by checking a website set up just to keep up with construction work.
The website, www.chs-trip.com, launched in September, allows the 2.6 million passengers who pass through the airport each year to find out what’s going on with airport construction over the next two years. It will help passengers avoid delays and get around the terminal while it’s being torn apart and rebuilt.
Specially made signs, commissioned by the Charleston County Aviation Authority, stand throughout the terminal and read, “Everyone loves an upgrade. Join in our journey to a renovated terminal.”
The signs include the website, which can be reached through chsfreewifi.
The website offers an overview of the construction plan, a timeline, before-and-after photos, work alerts, contact information and a video featuring authority Chairman Andy Savage and Fentress Architect’s Tom Theobald talking about the construction project. Fentress is designing the 28-year-old terminal’s overhaul.
Terminal redevelopment includes adding six new gates, a third baggage carousel, rental car pavilion, consolidated security checkpoints, a dome over the atrium and numerous other structural and cosmetic changes. Work is expected to be completed in August 2015.
“We want to make it as convenient as possible for travelers because we know we are going to interrupt people with the construction,” Airports Executive Director Paul Campbell said.
Areas inside the terminal already under construction include the addition of the third baggage claim carousel and the hallway along Concourse A. The third baggage claim area will be ready by the end of the year, but when it opens, work will start on updating the other two baggage carousels.
Passengers going down Concourse A will go through security in the foyer instead of the narrow throat of the hallway leading to airport gates. Workers are tearing out a wall where security checkpoints were because the terminal will expand outward. Also, after the holidays, the four inside traffic lanes at the front of the terminal will be closed as the front of the building undergoes a makeover. Two of the lanes will reopen by spring, but the other two will be closed for most of 2014, Campbell said.
He also advised holiday passengers to get to the airport early for the best parking.
“If you don’t want to walk as far, people should come a little earlier,” Campbell said.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.