LVIA Breaks Ground on Security Checkpoint, Terminal Connector Project

By Colin McEvoy on May 28, 2021

A groudnbreaking ceremony was held May 27 for a new security checkpoint and terminal connector at the Lehigh Valley International Airport. (photo courtesy LVIA)

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on May 27 to commemorate the start of construction on a new security checkpoint and terminal connector at the Lehigh Valley International Airport (LVIA).

The $29 million critical infrastructure project is expected to be completed in 2023.

Since 1974, an underground tunnel has served as the direct connection for passengers between the LVIA main terminal and departure building. This project will update and modify that connection.

A rendering of the terminal connector currently being constructed at the Lehigh Valley International Airport. (image courtesy LVIA)

“The tunnel was never designed to implement Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening equipment post-9/11,” said Thomas R. Stoudt, Executive Director of the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority (LNAA). “The equipment keeps getting larger in size with enhancements that produce the highest level of security and safety.”

Airport officials said the return to 2017 passenger traffic numbers in April 2021, and an even greater return to normal activity already visible this month at LVIA, also point to an immediate need for a third passenger security screening lane.

While the pandemic impacted aviation across the world, LVIA is already returning to those pre-pandemic passenger traffic levels, Stoudt said, which heightens the priority of completing this project.

“This project has received tremendous support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania led by Sen. Pat Browne and the Lehigh Valley delegation,” he said. “We will continue to need more of that moving forward. The time is now for us to begin construction ensuring LVIA maintains a competitive edge while delivering the LNAA’s vision of being the best regional airport system in North America.”

Federal, state, and local officials were present during the May 27 groundbreaking ceremony, along with other regional organizations and representatives.

“Our neighborhood airport continues to undertake new and innovative projects, enhancing their already high-level of ease and convenience, while positioning the airport for a bright future,” Browne said. “On behalf of the Lehigh Valley legislative delegation, I applaud the Board of Directors, Executive Director Stoudt and all involved for their leadership, vision and commitment to bringing this bold project to fruition.”

LVIA plays a pivotal role and impact on regional economic development in Lehigh Valley, and transportation resources are an important resource for site selectors and businesses considering where to locate a building or expand an existing one, according to Don Cunningham, President & CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC).

“Convenient access to flights for business or personal travel helps attract and retain employers,” said Cunningham, who recently signed a Fly Local pledge with the airport. “LVIA connects Lehigh Valley travelers to the world, without the stress of getting to and through airports in bigger cities.”

LVEDC and LVIA are partners in Made Possible in Lehigh Valley, a marketing campaign that highlights the region’s diverse assets that make it a desirable community to visit, work, learn, and live, and seeks to enhance talent attraction and retention efforts for the region’s employers.

The new four-lane TSA security checkpoint will include the latest-generation screening equipment. The project also includes an enhanced air purification system, improved air circulation, and separate outbound and inbound passenger flow.

LVIA has been awarded $1.8 million by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to continue the terminal connector and security checkpoint expansion as well as enhance terminal commercial development connectivity, according to the airport.

Those funds are part of $10 million in state grants announced by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf earlier this month. Those grant funds from PennDOT’s Bureau of Aviation’s Aviation Transportation Assistance Program will benefit 12 airports across Pennsylvania.

“The COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted everyone’s lives in the State of Pennsylvania and has been equally felt by our transportation industry,” said Anthony McCloskey, Director, PennDOT Bureau of Aviation.

“As the State is focused on trying to reinstate the confidence level in our transportation systems, the Bureau of Aviation is continuing to focus on developing, promoting, and preserving our commercial and general aviation airports,” McCloskey said. “The award of nearly $1.8 million to LVIA from the Commonwealth’s Transportation Assistance Program to enhance the terminal connector and expand the TSA security checkpoint is a means of demonstrating our trust that air travel will rebound and positively impact the passenger’s experience.”

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