Sioux Falls Regional Airport is gearing up for the next phase of renovations to the terminal. Beginning in the fall, the long escalator in the lobby will be on its way out.
The familiar walkway that's moved thousands of air passengers without taking a step is on its last legs. But air travelers don't mind the change, if it means more room.
"I think it's a great idea, it opens up the area, less congested. I think it's a great addition to the airport," Heather Kranz of Salem said.
The new escalator will have steps and be shorter and more angled, allowing for more room at the top for the security checkpoint. The extra space should mean fewer bottlenecks for passengers during busy travel times. However, during the 2-years it will take to build the new escalator, passengers will have to step outside the terminal through a covered ramp to get to the checkpoint.
"This whole area will be blocked off. They'll have to go out around, then up to get upstairs," Airport Manager Dan Letellier said.
Winding their way through construction isn't new for passengers who use the Sioux Falls Airport. Projects have been underway since 2009.
"So you're basically building a whole new structure, a whole new terminal building and concourse over the top of an existing one, while you have record passenger traffic," Letellier said.
The elevator, tucked away in a side hallway, will be moved closer to escalator, allowing for easier access.
Construction isn't just taking place inside the terminal. Prep work for the new 73-room airport hotel, just north of the terminal, is set to begin this spring.