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Cuyahoga County

Cleveland Hopkins readies for $60 million in upgrades
Officials say the cosmetic and safety updates are 'long overdue'

Kabir Bhatia
A construction divider blocks traffic from the former terminal entrances during installation of a new facade and revolving doors
Courtesy of K. Bhatia
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About $40 million in projects at Cleveland Hopkins airport should be ready in time for the Republican National Convention next year. But as WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports, some City Council members are concerned about passengers navigating the construction this holiday season.
LISTEN: Cleveland Hopkins readying $60 million in upgrades

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Cleveland Hopkins is getting what officials say is a long-overdue makeover, with new signs, a new front façade and a host of other cosmetic updates. Right now, though, much of the airport is a maze of temporary walls blocking off construction areas. Councilman Jeffrey Johnson is concerned about delays for holiday travelers coming starting next week, but he understands the need to upgrade.

“The one thing to overlay on all this is the increased security. Despite the long lines, we’ve gotta make these people safe. They’ve gotta arrive, and they’ve gotta take off in a safe environment. And that’s priority one.” 

Airport officials say that TSA personnel will be adding shifts to handle the holiday passenger volume. Hopkins is the only airport in Ohio that was approved to add TSA personnel this year, but the 20 new agents won't be trained and in-place until early next year, ahead of the Republican Convention.

In a presentation to Cleveland City Council members today, officials outlined the airport’s new revolving doors, which will replace the old sliding doors at the terminal entry.

Councilman Martin Keane, head of the Transportation Committee, says the upgrades were approved four years ago, but the coming wave of Republicans is not the only reason the work is underway.

“The majority of these projects were pre-RNC discussion, where we were going through design, engineering, the planning commission and finding money. If the RNC had any impact on any of these projects, it would’ve been in its completion. But these are projects that we’ve needed for a long time.”

About $25 million has been allocated for a new baggage scanning system, but that won’t be ready till 2017 due to the logistics of re-configuring the backstage areas of the airport.
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