Starting Saturday morning, parts of the upper roadway at Terminal South will be closed, and the entire upper roadway will be closed most nights, according to Hartsfield-Jackson.
While road closures at Terminal North for the past year have caused traffic headaches for travelers during construction of the first of the two canopies on either side of the building, the road closures over the next year at Terminal South will disrupt even more people. Atlanta-based Delta makes up more than 80 percent of all airline passenger traffic at Hartsfield-Jackson.
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Hartsfield-Jackson’s interim assistant general manager of planning and development Tom Nissalke said in a written statement that the airport is “working with our partners to implement traffic mitigation efforts to ease the impact of the construction process.
Airport officials recommended that travelers “seek alternate locations for drop-offs and pickups” -- particularly during evening construction -- adding that the airport’s hourly parking decks “allow for quick, efficient pickups for arriving passengers.”
The parking decks cost $3 an hour for the first two hours. They sometimes reach capacity during busy periods of the day.
While the airport has a free cell phone lot at Terminal South, traffic congestion can make it difficult to navigate to the curb.
During evening construction, the airport will allow passengers to unload from all lanes instead of navigating to the curb -- which limits the need to weave in and out of traffic, but also slows the flow of traffic on the roadway.
Hartsfield-Jackson also urged passengers to use MARTA to get to the airport.
Shuttle drop-offs for off-airport parking, hotels and regional shuttles will be relocated to the Terminal North curbside, where construction of the canopy is nearly complete and the full curbside will reopen Saturday.
According to the airport, signs and customer service representatives will direct travelers where to go, including Delta passengers who are dropped off by shuttles at Terminal North and will need to walk across the building to Delta check-in at Terminal South.
The airport has been planning to relocate the Terminal North remote pickup zone for Uber and Lyft, but has not yet set a date for the move.
Airport officials said steel columns will go up starting Oct. 15 at the Terminal South curbside.
“Lessons learned from the North construction will be implemented on the South,” including traffic mitigation and the method to raise steel, said Hartsfield-Jackson spokesman Andrew Gobeil.
It’s expected to be a year before the Terminal South canopy is completed in fall 2019.
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport including Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, one of the world's largest carriers, and Hartsfield-Jackson, the world's busiest airport. She has covered airlines for about 20 years, graduated from Harvard and has a master's degree from Northwestern.