Humphrey parking ramp expansion approved - Two additional levels will boost project cost to $85.2M

The Metropolitan Airports Commission approved plans on Monday to add two more levels to a parking ramp under construction at the Hubert H. Humphrey Terminal, a decision that will require significant modifications to the base structure.

The ramp, under construction since last fall, will need $14.5 million worth of structural modifications, including additional foundation support and column ramps and alterations to the two helixes, according to MAC.

Overall, the upgrade from eight levels to 10 will cost $34.5 million, bringing the total project cost to $85.2 million.

Adolfson & Peterson, a general contractor for the project, will be in charge of strengthening the base structure to accommodate the two extra parking levels, according to MAC spokesman Patrick Hogan.

MAC plans to let bids for the construction of the two levels in the near future.

Kraus-Anderson is the construction manager and Kimley-Horn & Associates is the engineering firm for the overall project.

Members of the construction and design team declined to comment on the project last week, preferring to wait until the board officially approved the expansion.

MAC intends to pay for the additional levels with existing bond proceeds and short-term financing that can be paid off with airport revenues or with existing bond issues, according to Hogan.

The upgrade will add 978 spaces to the parking ramp, bringing the total number of spaces to 5,553.

Adding spaces makes sense because parking demand continues to grow and parking ramps generate strong revenue, according to MAC. The commission expects the new ramp to have "positive cash flow" within three years.

"There is a window of opportunity to do it now, before the ramp is completed," Hogan said.

If MAC were to add the two levels at a later time, Hogan said, the elevator would have to be taken out of service and the ramp would have to be shut down during construction.

Construction was to be completed in July, but the expansion will add six to nine months to the project.

The new parking structure will complement an existing Humphrey Terminal ramp that opened in 2002. A second ramp was scheduled to open in 2004, but the project was put on hold after the airline industry suffered a downturn.

The second ramp is part of the airport's long-term plan, known as "MSP 2010: Building a Better Airport. " Some improvements in the $3.1 billion plan have been completed, including the new north/south runway along Cedar Avenue.

Future improvements include expanding the Humphrey Terminal from 10 gates to up to 29 gates, Hogan said. Carriers that use the terminal are Sun Country Airlines, Air Tran Airways and Midwest Airlines.

In addition, a second skyway would connect the expanded terminal to the new parking ramp and the light-rail transit station.

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