Hartsfield-Jackson’s budget for five new gates grows by $130 million

Concourse T

Concourse T

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport's budget to build five more gates on the end of Concourse T is rising by more than $100 million.

Early estimates in 2016 for the project to construct the gates on the north end of Concourse T were $200 million. The project was originally expected to be completed by 2021.

Now it is expected to cost a total of $330 million to complete the five gates by the end of 2022.

The earlier estimate was included in the airport's broader expansion and renovation plan before any planning or design was done, according to airport spokeswoman Elise Durham.

Officials at the world's busiest airport says the gates are needed to add capacity for more flights.

But on the crowded airport grounds, existing facilities and infrastructure must be demolished or relocated to make way for the extension of the concourse.

An area outside Concourse T

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For the enabling work and advance scope work alone, the airport plans to spend an additional $57 million.

The airport already got approval in 2017 for $54 million to fund the first phase of work. Facilities that need to be moved include the north economy parking exit plaza, ground handling equipment facilities, a segment of a terminal exit road, an airport fire station and some parking.

The project will be funded by bonds. Airport revenue which includes passenger fees, will repay that debt.

But now, the airport is seeking additional funding because more work is needed — including a bridge at the North Terminal Parkway exit, water utility infrastructure requirements and more work on parking facilities — and because construction costs are higher than expected amid a construction boom in the metro area, according to airport documents.

In order to complete that work, the airport wants to add $45.4 million to the budget for the enabling phase.

The airport says the next phase of work will require temporarily relocating facilities, removing underground fuel tanks and demolishing a fuel system, and it needs $11.7 million for advance scope work. That combined with the enabling work amounts to the $57 million in additional funding for which airport officials are seeking city approval.

The city council transportation committee voted unanimously in favor of the measure, which now goes to the full council for approval.

Along with the $54 million approved two years ago, that would bring the total funding requested for the project to date up to $111 million, Hartsfield-Jackson senior deputy general manager Michael Smith told council members.

Airport officials plan to later seek more funding for the construction of the actual gates.

“To get there we have to do a considerable amount of work,” said Tom Nissalke, airport assistant general manager of planning and development. The North economy parking lot has already been closed to make room for the project.

“There will still be a considerable amount of work going on in the domestic terminal area for the next couple of years,” Nissalke said.

He warned travelers to get to the airport early, read signs and be aware of the potential for detours.