ROANOKE, Va. – There’s metal flying through the sky at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport as crews are making quick work on the new rental car facility that’s set to streamline the pick-up and drop off process. And the airport hopes it will make visits to Virginia’s Blue Ridge easier than ever before.
In the foggy mist Wednesday afternoon, sparks flew as contractors dug their heels in on a project to help make traveling a little easier. The new consolidated car rental facility at the airport is on its way to reality.
Airport marketing director Brad Boettcher has a view of it out his office window, and watches as the project goes on.
“We’ve got the building coming up out of the ground, bricks are laid, the ironwork is done, and so now it’s just finishing out," Boettcher said.
Passengers arriving in Roanoke and getting a rental car will do it differently come June. Right now, desks are spread out in the terminal and cars are mixed in with other traveler’s actual cars in the lot. But soon, all the desks will be together and the rental cars will live in a dedicated lot that used to be an employee lot.
“They’ll be able to go right out on the lot, pick their car up, right now the cars are intermingled with the short and long term lot and it can be very confusing, especially for the out of town visitors," Boettcher said.
The current system causes confusion for some passengers and employees try their best to explain the system. But the new project, which includes a driveway going right to the building, will make not only pick up, but drop off easy too.
“Most of the car rentals we have are people coming into the region on business or visiting friends and family so being able to have that easily accessible is huge," Boettcher said.
The project costs more than $4.5 million and is paid for by car rental fees. The construction today is set to help build the airport of tomorrow. Boettcher said as the airport continues to grow and set passenger records, projects like this one help build the momentum.
“It was one of those things that we didn’t take the project lightly when we wanted to do it," Boettcher said. "We think it’s critically important to be able to have a facility that’s easy for people that are coming into the region to use.”
Crews are also upgrading the lighting in the Airport Road tunnel under the runway. They’re working on both tubes, but alternating with closures and re-directing traffic. The project is expected to wrap at the end of March.