Work on the move toward international status for William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) enters a new phase next week, when new entrances to the existing parking garage areas are opened and steps toward demolishing the South Helix begin.
Part of the on-going roadway modifications designed to complement construction of the new international terminal and four-level parking garage at Hobby, the new entrances will be opened Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Signage to help direct visitors to the new entrances will be placed on the Terminal Loop road leading into the garage area.
A week after the new garage entrances are opened, on Oct. 20, demolition of the South Helix will begin. Most of the work will be done at night to minimize impact to passengers and visitors, though some overnight closures — 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. — will be necessary to accommodate the work. During those closures, traffic will need to enter on the second level of the garage via the upper U-Ramp (passenger drop-off level). Again, signage to help direct traffic will be in place.
Completion of the demolition is expected by Nov. 14. Soon after, in the first week of December, work on the Terminal Loop Road will require the upper ramp to be closed 2-to-3 days, but that work will be done on the weekend to help minimize impact to passengers coming to Hobby.
Inside the terminal, a reconfiguring of the TSA security checkpoints is planned, beginning the evening of Monday, October 13. Passengers will see completed updated changes by the morning of Wednesday, October 15. Diagrams of the new lobby configuration are expected to be released next week.
The work is all part of the plan to bring a new international terminal to Hobby by fall of October 2015. Southwest Airlines is fully funding the new, five-gate international terminal at an estimated cost of $156 million. The project includes a west concourse that will house five gates designed for international operations capable of handling narrow-body transport category aircraft and the development of a Federal Inspection Services (FIS) facility. Southwest Airlines will lease four of the gates for its international destinations. The project also includes reconfiguration and expansion of the security screening checkpoint and Southwest Airlines ticket counters.
The Houston Airport System is leading the design and construction of a new multi-level parking garage and a modified roadway system at Hobby to prepare for the new terminal.