Now that the holidays are over, Los Angeles International Airport can get back to normal, but what does that mean for a facility deep in the midst of a $14-billion modernization project?
It means that the new year brings new roadway obstacles and changes that could cause you or your passengers to miss a flight. LAX, recovering from an estimated 4.3 million holiday travelers between mid-December and Tuesday, will resume work on construction projects Wednesday.
Here’s what you can expect if you are traveling to the airport this month.
1. Terminal 1
Upgrading the terminal that houses Southwest Airlines means that part of the upper level (departures) road lanes are closed through March, a news release says. Further, the entire lane closes between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. weeknights too.
This may cause a big backup because it’s the first terminal as you enter LAX. The fix: Use the lower level (arrivals) to drop off passengers who can then take an escalator or elevator up to the ticket counters and gates.
The pedestrian bridge connecting Parking Structure 1 with the terminal is closed too; there are signs to direct you how to get to the terminal.
2. Parking Structure 3
Expect lane closures most weekdays from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the lower level (arrivals) adjacent to the parking structure for landscaping. You don’t have to avoid this area at all times, but know that it could occasionally get backed up.
3. Shuttle changes
In an effort to ease traffic, LAX plans to assign shuttles and buses to single levels. It will limit hotel shuttles to lower level roads only, and private parking shuttles as well as Lot C buses to upper level roads. This is scheduled to start Jan. 23.
4. Upcoming terminal changes
An automated screening lane is coming to security checkpoints at Terminal 4. And Terminals 7-8, which house United Airlines, now feature five automated security lanes aimed at getting passengers through checkpoints quicker.
Heads up for American Airlines travelers: The carrier will relocate some gates at Terminal 6 (which recently rolled out a snazzy makeover with a Sunset Boulevard theme) to Terminal 5 at the end of January.
What would really cut traffic inside the airport’s central terminal would be a train that would take passengers to and from car-rental kiosks, public transit, etc. It’s coming — but not until 2023, at the earliest.