Airport Authority Presents Options for Managing Record Growth

Board Receives Runway Update, Options for T1 Expansion and Roadway Congestion Relief

Amid record-setting growth at RDU, the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority presented three potential projects to the Board of Directors that could shape the airport’s future. Tuesday’s strategic meeting of the Board of Directors was for informational purposes only and no action was taken.

Airport Authority staff informed board members about airport projects including the 5L-23R runway replacement project, the Terminal 1 expansion program, and the Aviation Parkway and National Guard Drive interchange. The Authority presented project updates and options the Board may consider in the future to keep up with record-setting passenger volume and maintain the world-class experience travelers expect at RDU.

“The exponential growth we are experiencing at RDU requires us to be nimble in executing our growth plans,” said Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “We must consider options that facilitate a smooth travel experience while allowing the airport to keep pace with the region’s demand for more air service and amenities.”

Runway 5L/23R

Board members received an update on the replacement of RDU’s primary runway, 5L-23R, which must be rebuilt due to pavement deterioration. The Authority discussed policy decisions the Board may need to consider in the future about the proposed new runway, including the impact of construction on utilities and navigational aids, the use of borrow material, the length of the runway and design plans that would allow for high-speed turnoffs to reduce runway occupancy times. The preferred runway alternative depicted on the Airport Layout Plan is currently under environmental review by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Terminal 1 Expansion

Staff presented options for Terminal 1 development beyond the currently proposed four-gate expansion. The Triangle’s rapid growth and demand for air service indicates airlines could need more gates than currently planned for over the next 10 years. Construction of new gates at Terminal 2 cannot begin until the new runway is operational. Staff have estimated the earliest new gates can be commissioned at Terminal 2 is approximately 2028. The only feasible option to add gates until the new runway is built is at Terminal 1. Authority staff offered design options to expand the terminal, including a preferred alternative of adding 12 new gates, bringing the total to 21.

Aviation Parkway Intersection Improvements

Traffic has increased at the intersection of Aviation Parkway and National Guard Road at the Sheetz location where travelers and ParkRDU buses access the Economy 3 parking lot. The airport’s Vision 2040 master plan identifies conceptual intersection improvements to relieve congestion. Staff discussed with the Board the need to move forward with the implementation of those proposed improvements in order to provide better traffic flow to and from Economy 3.