ATLANTA (AP) — Travelers headed to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport could encounter more congestion at the terminal curbside, as the airport steps up construction of massive canopies outside the terminal.
That will squeeze more vehicle traffic into less space at the world's busiest airport.
Starting Sunday, the airport will begin "substantial canopy construction" on the Terminal North roads, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. That will disrupt traffic every night.
Every domestic airline at Hartsfield-Jackson other than Delta Air Lines operates out of Terminal North, while Delta operates out of Terminal South.
The airport recommends that during this construction, travelers allow an extra half-hour to get through the airport.
Hartsfield-Jackson now advises domestic travelers get to the airport 2.5 hours before their departure time, and for international travelers to arrive 3 hours before their flight.
Work on the $265 million canopies is expected to continue until early 2019, a high-profile project in Hartsfield-Jackson's $6 billion plan to expand and modernize the airport.
The massive canopies will cover the curbside areas on both sides of the domestic terminal, spanning from the terminal to the parking garages. Airport officials say the canopies will protect pedestrians from the elements and create a "dramatic entrance to the airport." Pedestrian bridges underneath the canopies will make it safer for those walking from the parking decks and reduce traffic congestion.
During the next phase of construction, vehicles will not be allowed to wait at the curbside for passengers, with traffic enforcement officers enforcing the rule allowing only "active loading and unloading," according to the airport.
"We expect there may be challenges in the first few days of these closures," said Hartsfield-Jackson spokesman Andrew Gobeil. "But we will collect data and address any of these challenges and make sure they're reconciled."
Travelers who would normally use Terminal North roads "should seek alternate options," according to the airport, which recommends those passengers take MARTA to the airport or considering being picked up or dropped off at the international terminal.