By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – A portion of Pena boulevard leading to Denver International Airport is disappearing from some maps so that advertising can be sold on a new, brightly lit sign.

 It’s a quarter mile long $11.5 million dollar welcome to DIA sign. Soon, it will feature not only airport information, but it will be bombarding you with ads.

dia Approval Given For Advertising On DIA Welcome Sign

(credit: CBS)

“Is this the best use for $11.5 million?” CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger asked airport spokesman Heath Montgomery.

“We think it’s definitely a good use of airport funds to create a signature entry point for DIA,” he replied.

dia 1 Approval Given For Advertising On DIA Welcome Sign

(credit: CBS)

 You might say the “road” is now clear after the Federal Highway Administration removed Pena Boulevard east of E-470 from the National Highway System map.

Before the sign could not be used for non-airport related ads, Clear Channel, which sells the ads in the terminal, will handle the sales outside as well. 

“It will be their job to go to the marketplace and see who is interested in communicating to 61 million passengers a year on this signature new entry point,” Montgomery said. 

dia 3 Approval Given For Advertising On DIA Welcome Sign

(credit: CBS)

The airport has been known for its signature tent like terminal, but the new hotel has blocked that from a front view.

So now there is this, consisting of three 16×48 foot LED screens.

 Reactions varied as CBS4 asked some passengers what they think about the sign. 

“Very impressive at night…advertising that’s what it’s about,” one man said waiting to check in for a flight.

A woman standing in line for United offered, “Beautiful. I think it’s great.”

Sallinger then asked, “Worth 11.5 million?”

“You’re kidding me,” she replied.

The airport is hoping to recover the cost of the sign through advertising over a 10-year period. Only airport funds are involved, no taxpayer dollars.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

Comments (2)
  1. So texting and driving is bad, but trying to read an advertisement moving at 65 MPH, affecting your night vision while navigating merging lanes is good? Good for Ambulances and Hospitals maybe

  2. Robert Chase says:

    Remove Kim Day as Manager of Aviation immediately! She has already had a dismal career at DIA, overseeing $100 million in cost overruns building the hotel — just wait until the $1.8 billion redo of the Great Hall gets underway! The sign should be stopped — or destroyed.

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