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Tom Smart, Deseret News
The exit ramp to what was previously the drive-through lane of the airport’s short-term parking garage is being demolished as part of an $1.8 billion redevelopment program, in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. The first phase will be completed in 2020.

SALT LAKE CITY — The look and feel of Salt Lake City International Airport is changing significantly, and drivers picking up and dropping off travelers will notice the difference.

On Tuesday, demolition started on the exit ramp to what was previously the drive-through lane of the airport’s short-term parking garage.

The drive-through lane was closed in October and converted to premium parking, explained Nancy Volmer, director of public relations and marketing for the airport. The exit ramp area, along with what formerly housed car rental canopies, will become a new roadway exiting the airport this summer to prepare for future construction projects.

The airport, which serves almost 22 million passengers annually, is currently undergoing a $1.8 billion redevelopment effort — the first phase of which is scheduled for completion in 2020. The public will soon start to see more construction at the airport as part of the Terminal Redevelopment Program, Volmer said.

“We’re going to do some utility work next in that area,” she explained. “(Then) in mid-summer, we’re going to reconfigure Terminal Road, where people drop off and pick up.”

Volmer noted the reconfiguration would be temporary as work on the new terminal gets underway. Next month, the airport will conduct an open house to allow a preview of the new car rental facility that is under construction, she said.

“With this construction, the public is going to start seeing more of the (project’s development) firsthand,” Volmer said.

The result will be a greater impact on vehicle access getting to and departing from the airport, she noted.

“We are always encouraging people to plan ahead,” Volmer said. “Go to our website to see if there are any delays that are anticipated and be aware of the construction that will be going on.”

With several years to go in the redevelopment process, Volmer advised travelers and others using the airport to exercise patience as much as possible.

“This airport was initially built to accommodate half the number of passengers that we get today,” she explained. “If people can be patient and plan ahead, once we get this terminal built, it’s going to be more spacious and a much more comfortable facility.”

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