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Charlotte airport opens final stretch of new entrance and exit roads

Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Saturday opened the final leg of its new entrance and exit roads, completing the Josh Birmingham Parkway realignment project and giving drivers a more direct path to and from the terminal, airport officials said.

As part of the $24 million realignment, the new roadway connects the Little Rock Road exit off Interstate 85 to North Josh Birmingham Parkway. That gives motorists a more convenient and fluid traffic pattern to the airport, officials said.

Drivers now have direct access to the terminal, airport parking lots and decks from I-85 and Wilkinson Boulevard. New exit lanes allow motorists more options to major thoroughfares.

Drivers can bear left onto North Josh Birmingham Parkway to access Wilkinson Boulevard, I-85, Interstate 485 and uptown Charlotte. They can bear right on Josh Birmingham to access Interstate 77 and I-85.

Construction on the main entrance and exit roads began in August 2012. The airport has built 3 miles of road to improve traffic flow and safety.

Airport officials on Saturday called the realignment’s completion a major milestone in the airport’s 2015 development program, which includes the new hourly deck and rental car facility and the Norfolk Southern intermodal railyard facility.

Earlier this month, the airport moved rental cars from surface parking lots north of Concourse A to the bottom three levels of the new hourly parking deck.

Travelers can now walk directly to the rental cars from the terminal, instead of taking shuttles. The new rental car facility holds 3,000 cars. There are 4,000 public hourly parking spaces on the deck’s upper levels.

Charlotte Douglas opened the $120 million hourly deck in November.

The airport plans to build a satellite concourse with additional gates where the rental cars were formerly located north of Concourse A.

Marusak: 704-358-5067;

Twitter: @jmarusak