DENVER (CBS4) – As Denver International Airport prepares to resume construction on its stalled Great Hall project, it’s also making improvements to help passengers navigate the construction.
Denver City Council was set to approve $130 million in contracts on Monday night, meaning DIA can move forward with construction.
No work has been done since DIA terminated its public-private partnership with Great Hall Partners in August. Now, with new contracts nearly approved and construction expected to resume in January, the airport is trying to get ahead of the woes.
“Unfortunately, there will not be much change with the construction walls as they stand but we are working with the new contractors to get the walls brought in a little bit toward the construction site so there will be more passenger room,” said Shellee Casiello, communications manager for the Great Hall Project.
It’s one of several small improvements. The most noticeable changes so far are the addition of floor tiles on the 6th floor. Yellow directs passengers to the correct airline for check-in, purple directs passengers to security.
“It’s kind of a little test run. That’s why we’ve got it going a couple weeks before Thanksgiving.”
DIA has an entire “wayfinding” team which is looking at other improvements it can make to signage, but Casiello admits, it’s not a replacement for face to face interaction which is why it plans to bring on more volunteer ambassadors.
“We also have an employee program where we’re bringing folks on. They can put a couple extra hours on their shift and help assist customers around because nothing beats the face to face interaction,” she said.
To make things even more smooth, beginning Nov. 25, passengers on select airlines will be able to utilize a new bag drop a 75th and Pena. Passengers can drop bags up to 90 minutes prior to their flight and head to the airport, bag free.
Full renovations won’t be complete until 2024.
“We still have that as our date please be mindful that this center section will not be closed until 2024 this is just one phase of it so we will be moving some of the construction walls around so it will not be in the middle of the airport for the full five year.”
In addition to a new lead design team, DIA is working with Jacobson Engineering to help with oversight. It says right now, its working with everyone involved to figure out where to pick up construction.
“That’s part of what these contractors are doing right now is figuring out what are we gonna do first. They’re walking in, they’re looking at everything and they’re figuring out how they can do it most efficiently the safest and the quickest.”