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Departure drop-off area at airport temporarily closed for new canopy construction

The Charlotte Douglas International Airport has temporarily shut down the departures drop-off area as part of its expansion project.

The road for all departures and arrivals is being directed to the arrivals area between 10 p.m. Tuesday and Oct. 12 at 4 a.m. to start construction on a 146,000 square-foot canopy.

Airport officials ask passengers to allow for extra time when going to pick up and drop off people during the construction.

The airport will have additional employees on the curbside to assist customers for the first week.

PAST COVERAGE: Charlotte Douglas International Airport set to debut latest piece of expansion

The project will consist of removing the current blue canopy system and replacing it with a permanent canopy system over the departures/ticketing roadway.

During this two-week period, airport officials say:

  • All vehicle traffic will be directed to the lower level (arrivals/baggage claim) for drop-off and pick-up.

  • All airline curbside ticket counters/check-in will be unavailable. Passengers will need to check in at the airlines’ ticket counters in the lobby.

  • Door 2 and the center door on the upper level (departures/ticketing) will remain open for an emergency exit only. Door 5 on departures/ticketing will remain open for an emergency exit and access to the departures/ticketing smoking area. The smoking area will relocate to the east end of Departures/Ticketing.

  • Daily North Lot will become a temporary cellphone lot to help alleviate traffic congestion. The current cellphone lot will close.

  • Express Deck shuttle bus will pick up and drop off on the arrivals/baggage claim level in the bus lane Zone 2.

  • Curbside valet check-in has been relocated to the first level of the hourly deck. There are signs directing customers to the new location. A temporary check-in counter is located inside the west subterranean walkway to assist with check-in/checkout operations.

  • Special assistance zones will be identified in Zone 2 of the public vehicle lanes and include an attendant, additional seating and special assistance signage.

The new canopy is part of a $608 million terminal expansion project.

‘There’s going to be a whole lot going on’

Eric Cable has been driving for Uber off and on for seven years. Now, he’s buckled up for more changes while the departures area closes.

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“If you’re not moving, you’re a problem,” he said.

Taxis and buses will stay where they are while everyone else moves to a new location for pick up and drop off, officials said.

Some people are already bracing for the traffic impact.

“There’s going to be a whole lot going on, very congested and a lot of confusion and disorder is what’s going to happen,” Shawana Locks said.

The change is part of a massive expansion project first started in 2019.

Cable believes it may deter some rideshare drivers from going there at all, which could make it harder for people getting to or from the airport. It may impact rideshare prices too, he said.

“Passengers should probably expect to pay more because when there are more passengers and fewer drivers, Uber automatically ups the prices. It’s supply and demand in real time,” Cable said.

Airport officials recognize the headache the construction is causing for travelers and said they are doing their best.

“We’re going to try and do this as fast as we can so that we can minimize impact to customers,” said Jack Christine, the chief infrastructure and development officer for Charlotte Douglas.

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