Construction has met another milestone in the ever-expanding Denver International Airport.
This month, the final beam of the exterior structure was placed on both Concourse C-East and Concourse B-East, key elements of DIA’s Gate Expansion Program, the city announced in a statement. The “topping out” of these final beams signifies the completion of the steel structure of both concourses’ exterior buildings.
"This is an exciting milestone as DEN continues to expand and improve our aging facilities and infrastructure,” said CEO Kim Day in the release. “This is our largest capital improvement program and I’m proud to say we are on schedule and within budget. The program we are undertaking is advancing the state’s most important economic asset while also providing valuable construction jobs during this uncertain economic time. I’m grateful to the team and all the essential employees working every day on this program and at the airport.”
The Gate Expansion Program, which had $560 million approved and added to the contract during Phase II, 16 new gates are planned for Concourse C-East and 10 new gates for Concourse B-East. In total, DIA has planned the construction of 39 gates, which will increase the overall airport gate capacity by 30%, according to the release.
“We are not entirely sure when air travel will resume in the way that it was before but we know that we are already busting at the seams,” said Emily Williams, a public information officer with DIA. “By adding the 39 new gates we are able to allow our airline partners to expand.”
Williams added that all the new gates have been leased out to Southwest and United Airlines.
These new gates come with a host of new amenities, including an outdoor deck that will provide “views of the mountains or prairies and will feature a pet relief area, outdoor seating and fire pits for ambiance.” Other soon-to-come amenities include more comfortable seating options with power outlets, upgraded restrooms, nursing rooms and more shopping and dining for airport patrons.
“We know there are certain things we want to be able to provide to our passengers when they are in the airport,” Williams said. “One thing that our CEO Kim Day says often is that she wants people to know they are in Denver as soon as they land, even if they are not going to ever make it into the city.”
Williams added that these amenities, especially the outdoor patios, will give passengers this experience.
Along with the construction of the new gates, DIA is planning to upgrade “aging” facilities across the concourses to enhance the passenger experience. This upgrade includes holdrooms, commuter facilities, restrooms and more. This renewal work is a part of Phase II of the program.
“I think we often think about Denver as being a new airport, and it is 25 years old, that is 25 years worth of wear. We see it when we walk the concourses, we hear it from people that there are tears in some of the seats in the areas and things like that,” Williams said. “The renewal report is important to bring our existing concourses aesthetically and functionally up to the same standard as the expansion work will be.”
Work on these new gates began during the summer of 2018 with construction completion by 2021. According to Williams, these new gates will be fully operational in 2022.