Construction begins on multi-phase improvement project at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Jun 9, 2016

This week, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) began a project that, when completed, will entirely transform Terminal 1-Lindbergh’s 54-year-old ticket lobby and baggage claim levels at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).

Changes will make the facility more light, open, efficient and roomy and ensure it can accommodate the growing numbers of travelers expected to visit MSP in the years ahead.

The transformation will occur in phases over the next five years. During this first phase of construction customers will be most affected by activities taking place on the lower level (Level T).

Now through December workers will install utilities needed for new escalators and elevators. Anyone who uses Level T (typically those who park at the terminal, arrive or depart by light rail or public transportation, take a shuttle or a taxi, or who rent a vehicle) will be most affected, with barriers erected around construction areas. (Click here to view a diagram of the first phase of construction.)

While disruptions should be minimal in this first phase, impacts will be greater in the phase beginning in October 2016, when workers will begin to dismantle some of the escalators and elevators that connect all four levels and fill in the floors where those conveyances once were. New elevators and escalators will be installed in other areas to improve vertical circulation and reduce congestion.

The project will also impact portions of the building’s upper and lower roadway sidewalks and ticketing and bag claim facilities, as the glass curtain wall at the front of the building is bumped out toward the roadway 16 feet, expanding the square footage of the arrival and departure facilities.

Construction on the north end of the building will last approximately 18 months. Shortly thereafter a similar project will commence on the south end of the building, again reconfiguring elevators and escalators and expanding the size of arrival and departure facilities.
Ultimately all the current escalators and elevators connecting the four floors at the front of the terminal will be removed. In their place a large, central bank of elevators and escalators on both ends of the building will be added.

“Making major improvements in a busy, operating hub airport is always challenging, and we are making every effort to minimize the impact on users of the facility,” said Ryks. “We are constructing in phases so that adequate facilities are still available when some are taken out of service for renovation. We are installing directional signs to help people find their way. And we are increasing use of airport ambassadors to provide face-to-face guidance to travelers when needed.”

Once the new elevators and escalators are in place, work will continue on the ticketing and bag claim levels to upgrade the floors, ticket kiosks and counters, baggage claim carousels, restrooms and dining options. Plans also call for installation of a large, iconic art piece in the renovated space.

“The streamlined, modern design will accommodate the growing number of travelers using the facility and support increased use of technology to process travelers and their bags,” said Brian Ryks, executive director and CEO for the MAC. “It will reduce congestion in the ticket lobby, provide better sightlines and bring more daylight into the space.”

The cost of the entire five-year project is estimated at about $200 million and will be paid for via federal airport improvement grants and airport revenue bonds.

Terminal1’s front-of-house remodeling is just one way the MAC is reimagining the traveler’s experience. Several other projects are also in progress, including construction of 50 new restaurant and retail shops, the first of which will open this summer. The airport’s first hotel will break ground in July, and work associated with a 5,000-space parking ramp is already underway. Four new gates will open at Terminal 2-Humphrey this fall, as well.

To learn more about all the exciting changes taking place at MSP, visit and/or sign up to receive updates via email