HEBRON, Ky. -- Parts of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport are getting a facelift that officials hope will be complete before the busy holiday travel season.
An airport modernization project slated to start this summer will "lighten and brighten" parts of Terminal 3, giving it a new, fresh and modern look, while incorporating some of the same design elements now found in Concourse A.
The airport spent $36.5 million there in 2012, refreshing walls, floors and lighting in an effort to attract new carriers after Delta vacated those gates the year before.
This $4.5 million project will touch areas like the baggage claim -- which is considered "dated" -- curb front and parking garage, among others. The changes should make travel more convenient for passengers and will incorporate similar regional branding inspired by the Roebling Bridge and Downtown's Smale Park.
More than 6.7 million people flew through CVG in 2016.
"We want to bring in that sense of place. That I'm home, if I'm coming home, or that I'm in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region, if I'm visiting," said Barb Schempf, CVG vice president for planning and development. "We really want that to stand out now that we're a local airport."
Baggage claim will get a floor-to-ceiling makeover that includes more energy-efficient lighting, new carpet, wall treatments and extended walkway areas. The space will be decluttered, with simplified signage and wayfinding "to make it more customer-convenient," Schempf said.
On the curb front, plans call for increased signage visibility, brighter roadway lighting and new lighting at crosswalks. In the parking garage, CVG will eliminate the "fruit icons" used at each floor level in favor of colors and numbers, a "more modern look and feel."
"And in the future, when we go to a parking guided system, you'll be able to find your levels electronically," she said.
The project also includes new carpet in Concourse B, in order to "bring that up to more 2017 standards," Schempf said, and new doors at ticketing and baggage claim.
It's likely work will have a minor impact on customers -- the baggage claim project will be the most complex. But that's just something they'll have to embrace, Schempf said.
"It will most likely be a 24/7 schedule," she added. "From 11 o'clock at night until 4 in the morning, those are the only timeframes that (the contractor) can really do that disruptive-type work. The rest (of the time), let's put walls up, let's share with the world that we're doing construction (and say), 'Here's our future.'
"It's an exciting project."
CVG is also spending $10.5 million in Concourse A this year
The modernization project is expected to start in August and would wrap up by March 2018, although airport officials are asking bidders to price out an expedited schedule. They want to know how much extra it would cost to complete work before Thanksgiving, their busiest travel day of the year.