Construction progress visible for new Armstrong airport terminal

Construction progress visible for new Armstrong airport terminal

KENNER, LA (WVUE) - As travelers moved about Louis Armstrong International Airport on Wednesday, behind the terminal a different kind of activity was underway.

"We're full speed ahead on the new north terminal," said airport spokeswoman Michelle Wilcut.

Heavy construction equipment and progress are easy to spot on the sprawling piece of land in Kenner.

"Starting to have some of the structure coming out of the ground as far as the pile caps, and some of the concrete pillars and beams that are going to be in the terminal building," said Wilcut.

When completed, the new modern airport building promises 30 airline gates.

"It's going to offer us a single, consolidated checkpoint, both for the airlines and for the customers, so you will have a large 17-lane security checkpoint, go through, get to any concourse, any gate," said Wilcut.

Retails shops and all concessions will be beyond the security checkpoints, giving travelers more time to spend money while waiting to board.

"We truly anticipate seeing a reasonable increase in sales tax just because of that, the other impact is, we've already seen it, we've got like four new hotels being built along the Veterans Highway corridor," said acting Kenner Mayor Mike Sigur.

Businesses near the construction site cannot help but notice.

"We see a lot of construction going by daily with the cement pilings going by and the dump trucks," said Val Sevin, director of LA. Best Seafood, LLC. nearby.

Sevin said the coming north terminal is a blessing for his business.

"We do a lot of air shipping out of state, and I think that anything that gives us the opportunity to increase our business, be it expanded airfare schedules, we're excited about that," he said.

But those feelings are not universal. Some businesses don't like the vibration from the heavy construction vehicles and voiced other concerns about the terminal's location.

"As soon as we see the street needing repair, we send our crews out there to patch holes," said Mayor Sigur.

He anticipates a lot of new businesses in the area will take advantage of the thousands of people who will head to and from the airport.

"Yes, there will be some increased traffic in that area, but traffic is what spurs spending," said Sigur.

And there are already plans to mitigate the heavy traffic expected to be at the location.

"To redesign that whole interchange and the section of Loyola between Veterans and the interstate, we're going to be adding extra lanes on there," said Sigur.

He added that a flyover ramp over Veterans Boulevard is the ultimate goal. The state has put up some of the money, but the lion's share must still be acquired.

"It's all a win-win for us," said Sevin.

The new terminal is scheduled to open in 2018.

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