By Michael Abeyta

DENVER, (CBS4)- For more than 3 years travelers at Denver International Airport have dodged construction in the Jeppesen Terminal to catch their flights.

“It’s like your house, where you could be renovating your house and still living in it,” says CEO Phil Washington.

Those days are over because on Wednesday Washington and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock cut the ribbon on Phase 1 of The Great Hall Project, but it wasn’t easy to get here. The project which was supposed to be completed in 2021 was plagued by delays and budget issues. Hancock says despite all that, Wednesday was a day for celebration.

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“In all great things there are some moments of tribulation, this was absolutely very turbulent but today we are going to focus on the fact that we completed a phenomenal Phase 1,” he said.

The newly renovated area will house check-in for two of the airport’s biggest airlines, United and Southwest. The main focus of the project to improve security is still a ways off. As is solving the staffing issues that have caused long lines lately.

“There’s no sugar coating that, we have a lot of work to do,” says Washington.

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Hancock says while this will help ease congestion at the airport, it won’t help delays caused by short staffing, but that wasn’t the point of this project.

“It’s not really very fair for Phil to have to answer that question because you are mixing apples and oranges,”

With this opening, passengers can now walk through Jeppesen Terminal and won’t have to go around construction.

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Phase 2 of the project has already kicked off. That will add a new security checkpoint on level 6 of the terminal and should be done by 2024.

Then it’s on to a proposed Phase 3 which will possibly be moving all security to level 6. Washington says the planning for that phase has just begun.

Even though security has not yet been moved, there is some hope for travelers this holiday season who fear long security lines. Washington revealed that he thinks the airport will be able to add more security lanes to get travelers through to their flights faster.

“We think we can get that done before Thanksgiving,” says Washington.

Michael Abeyta