From the installation of custom trusses along the new international departures curb to the first segments of a state-of-the-art baggage handling system, those visiting Bush Airport will start to see the significant progress that continues to be made on the largest capital improvement project in the history of Houston Airports.
This holiday season will be one of excitement at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Houston Airports is preparing to welcome record travelers this Thanksgiving, which means more people will get a glimpse of the new international terminal under construction between Terminal D and Terminal E. The construction site is visible from the arrivals and departures curb, the Skyway tram and the Terminal C parking garage.
Contractors are working around the clock to assemble and install the steel framework for a new baggage handling system (BHS) bridge, which connects a series of conveyors used to move baggage throughout the airport. The system includes baggage jam sensors, movement of bags, and equipment to sort and direct luggage to their intended destination. The system will convey baggage through regulatory review processes and inline screening machines prior to the baggage being loaded on outbound aircraft. Once cleared, the baggage handling system will bring the bags to a makeup area where they will be loaded into carts and then onto the aircraft prior to takeoff, which is why it’s important for passengers to plan according to the recommended arrival times, so their bags can be checked and inspected before the flight departs.
The new baggage handling system bridge is currently being assembled along North Terminal Road.
- The baggage handling bridge will be 157 feet long
- Weighing approximately 85 tons.
- The complete Baggage Handling System will be 1.5 miles long
- Capable of processing 2,400 bags per hour
The baggage handling system can handle both international and domestic baggage but will primarily be used for international carriers.
What’s happening in December? | The baggage handling bridge is scheduled to be assembled onto permanent columns and lifted into place in early December 2023, which will be planned and sequenced to minimize impacts to traffic flow along North Terminal Road. Look for updates and travel recommendations on fly2houston.com before you head to the airport.
“The schedule for the baggage handling system bridge installation has been designed to minimize passenger inconvenience while maintaining safety during installation,” explains Khalid Radwan, Executive Program Manager for the IAH Terminal Redevelopment Program for Houston Airports. “Much of the bridge installation is being done at night when vehicle traffic is lower; however, due to the speed of the self-propelled movers, it will require additional time to relocate and safely install the bridge to allow for vehicle traffic to pass underneath. As always, safety is our number one priority.”
All critical activities are meticulously planned and detailed, going through a rigorous vetting process to ensure a safe and successful execution of work.
UPDATE ON CUSTOM LEAF TRUSSES | Last month, Houston Airports shared details and photos of the handcrafted leaf trusses that will be used to support a canopy over the departures curb of the new international terminal. Four Y columns are now standing, and at the time this article was published, one truss was permanently in position. Seven more trusses will be installed by early January 2024. Passengers accessing the Terminal C parking garage have a front-row view of the work carefully being done to take the departures curb from concept to custom work of art.
“We are at a very exciting stage in the program as you can start to see more key elements take form,” said Radwan, “and the level of complexity that takes place behind the scenes is nothing short of spectacular.”