Pasco airport construction weeks away

PASCO, Wash. -- The Tri-Cities Airport is just weeks away from kicking off a major expansion and remodel, and it's going to affect parking.

Jeff Johnson travels through the Tri-Cities Airport at least once a month.

"Having additional seating will definitely be better on those busy, busy days," said traveler Jeff Johnson.

More seating in the waiting areas is just one part of the remodel. Construction kicks off in a matter of weeks, with the airport nearly doubling in size.

"I've been through a lot of these airports, and this Pasco airport can be some of the toughest security lines, so this is a good thing," said Johnson.

The cost is $43 million, with half of the money being paid for with local and FAA dollars. The other half will be from a bond. The Port of Pasco will cover that through parking fees and a small percentage from each airline ticket.

"This is the first impression people have of the Tri-Cities and you want it to be positive. I think it's a reflection of our growth, and I'm willing to pay for it," said Johnson.

The first noticeable construction will be in the parking lot: It's an infrastructure improvement to replace sewer lines. That will mean fewer parking spaces until the project is complete. The airport picked a less busy time of year to take this on.

"It will be a hassle for a while, and people will have to plan for that, but as it is with growth, you have to be patient," said traveler, Katie Wolfey.

Katie Wolfey often travels with young kids, and improvements to the terminal are important to her.

"It makes you not feel like you are putting people out when your kids are next to them or running around," said Wolfey.

Work on the expanded terminal is set to kick off in July.

"It's just going to be better than what we have today," said Director of Airports Ron Foraker.

Staff say they have received some early interest from local restaurants looking to go in the new terminal. Florentyna's would like to stay, and Anthony's and Tailwind have expressed interest.