Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, CT is known as an “easy in and out” airport among business and leisure travelers in the region, but the small and manageable reputation of Bradley may be changing in the coming years, as they recently announced plans to transform the mid-sized airport into a major New England hub.
“It’s so much more convenient to fly out of Bradley than having to go to New York or Boston if you want to go anywhere direct,” say Roberta O’Brien, of Rocky Hill. But Bradley travelers may be in for some temporary bumps, as officials unveiled a $1.4 billion expansion plan that could make Bradley competitive with the Logan’s and the Kennedy’s of the northeast. From the terminals, to the car rental lot, to the parking garage and the roads that lead to the airport, Bradley will be under construction over the next 20 years.
The expansion, in part, is taking place due to population growth in the region. “There are 4.4 million people that live within our market area so if we can keep developing the airline services here, we’ll keep bringing passengers to the airport,” said Kevin Dillon, executive director at Bradley International Airport.
“I do believe this airport could be a 10 million passenger airport so when you start to talk about the activity of that level you really need to take a hard look at the infrastructure,” Dillon said.
Some of the biggest visible changes at the new Bradley will be at the terminals. The plan is to have Terminal B connect with Terminal A. Also, a new rental car lot will be built on the property, eliminating the shuttles.
Construction under way
Locals and air travelers in and out of Bradley will already see Bradley’s plans underway, as construction has begun on the Route 20 connector road.
According the official Bradley International Airport website, the Connecticut Airport Authority is beginning the reconstruction and realignment of the main airport entrance roadway, Route 20 and Schoephoester Road. The work will involve the realignment of Schoephoester Road along with a portion of the airport’s lower roadway system, as well as the construction of a modern roundabout.
The project will provide a new entrance to the airport from Route 20 and open up a 19-acre site for the future development of Bradley’s ground transportation center.
The construction will not interrupt access to the airport from the Route 20 connector, but there may be slight delays due to the shifting and reduction of lanes. Construction signs and variable message boards will be present along the roadway to alert motorists of any changes in traffic patterns.
The project will consist of six phases of work and is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2018. Regular updates will be provided to the public during this time period.
When completed, this road expansion will improve traffic and make room for a new rental car lot.
International carriers like Aer Lingus have already broadened their flight offerings in and out of Bradley, and the expansion could make Bradley more attractive to other airlines and destinations.
“Any airport has to have the market to be attractive to the airlines and we certainly have that,” Dillon said.
While some travelers are welcoming the changes, others say they’ll miss the ease of navigating the smaller terminals. “I’d like to keep it on a smaller level. I like to fly out of Westchester just for the convenience of how small and how quick and easy it is to get in and out,” said Steve Confortini, of New Milford.
Bradley Airport officials say the goal is to keep the convenience level intact. The Federal Aviation Administration will need to approve this plan, but officials say they are confident it will be approved.
Source: Information courtesy of WFSB.com.