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Raleigh-Durham International Airport to Get $650 Million Upgrade

The next phase of the project will involve expanding Terminal 2, the Park Economy 3 parking lot, and the interchange between Aviation Parkway and National Guard Drive

by Fergus Cole

April 5, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

A joint venture between construction firms Balfour Beatty and Metcon has been chosen to deliver a $650 million upgrade to Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU).

The construction project is part of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority’s Vision 2040 master plan, which was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2017. The long-term plan will involve transforming the airport into a major facility capable of handling the expected increase in passenger demand over the coming two decades.

The $650 million construction program will focus on upgrading the airport’s facilities to support the growth in passenger numbers, including expanding the Park Economy 3 parking lot, upgrading the interchange at Aviation Parkway and National Guard Drive, and landside expansion of Terminal 2.

Under the plans, the Park Economy 3 lot will be expanded to include an extra 8,000 parking spaces, which will accommodate increased passenger numbers and supply extra parking areas whilst Parking Garage 1 and Parking Garage 2 are being reconstructed.

A multi-story building will also be constructed to house staff of law enforcement and parking operations, including covered walkways and new bus shelters. Construction is set to begin this fall and be completed by 2025.

The interchange at Aviation Parkway and National Guard Drive will also be expanded to accommodate the extra traffic from the upgraded Park Economy 3 parking lot. This includes a new road connecting the parking lot to Aviation Parkway, a new bridge overpass for the airport’s shuttle buses, and general capacity and safety improvements. Construction is expected to begin in 2025.

Photo: Courtesy of Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Finally, the landside expansion of RDU’s Terminal 2 will involve three distinct phases – expansion of the building itself, the destruction and reconstruction of two parking garages, and the extension of John Brantley Boulevard.

The expansion of Terminal 2 itself will involve upgrading the processor building and landside area, the Federal Inspections Station (FIS), and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) areas.

Parking Garage 1 and Parking Garage 2 will be demolished and replaced with five- to seven-story parking lots with new pedestrian bridges and tunnels connecting them to the terminal building. Meanwhile, John Brantley Boulevard will be expanded to create more space between Terminals 1 and 2 to allow for the future construction of a car rental facility.

Photo: Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Courtesy of Daniel Shapiro / Unsplash

“Balfour Beatty is honored to continue our more than 10-year relationship with Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority,” said Trent Johnson, Operations Director in Raleigh at Balfour Beatty. “Being selected to deliver this major construction program is a testament to our project team’s ongoing commitment to operational excellence to successfully achieve our client’s program goals.”

“Balfour Beatty looks forward to working with Metcon, local minority-owned businesses, and our industry partners to construct these vital projects that will help to enhance the passenger experience and support current and future demand at RDU.”