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MSP Airport To Open New Security Checkpoint To Ease Congestion

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Change is landing at the Twin Cities airport to keep up with the increased number of travelers. Travelers will soon have only two security areas to choose from. But there will be more screening lanes at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The new checkpoint will be open in time for spring break travel.

"It really is going to be a big, big difference. Wide open spaces," TSA Federal Security Director in Minnesota Cliff Van Leuven said.

A full revamp of the TSA security checkpoint is nearly complete.

"In a couple of weeks what we're going to see is a 10-lane security checkpoint here," Van Leuven said. "It's going to be called the north check point."

Travelers forced the $17 million dollar renovation, paid for by revenue from the Metropolitan Airports Commission. More people want to fly out of MSP than the airport can handle.

"The projections for passengers coming through here were going up and up," MSP International Airport spokesperson Melissa Scovronski said. "We expected that we're going to have to, at some point, remodel this terminal or build a new one. And honestly, building a new one wasn't an option."

And the current bottle-necking at the smaller checkpoints added after 9/11 just wasn't cutting it.

"We've basically wedged little security checkpoints, one lane, two lanes, four lanes into any available space we can find at Terminal 1," Van Leuven said. "It gets to the point where we just don't have enough space to deal with the through put."

Three smaller checkpoints in the middle of the airport will close. The current six-lane checkpoint on the south end of the airport will stay and become the south check point. And the open area on the north side will be transformed to hold 10 lanes. It's designed to push travelers through faster.

"Passengers should be able to flow pretty much right through and recompose, get all their stuff back together and not hold up the line," Van Leuven said. "We think it's going to be a game changer here for us."

The changeover will begin mid-February where, night by night, machines will be moved from current screening locations to the new north checkpoint. It will be completely operational by Feb. 20. That's just in time for spring break when travelers increase from 30,000 day to 40 or 45,000 a day.


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