TAMPA (FOX 13) - It could soon take more time to find a garage parking spot at Tampa International Airport (TIA). That’s because starting January 7th, construction work will mean limited access to short and long term parking garages for the next six weeks.
Airport officials announced the change Monday as part of the multi-million dollar airport expansion project.
A spokesperson urged travelers to plan ahead.
"We're telling people ‘if you're traveling, go to the Economy Parking Garage’," said Janet Zink, Vice President of Media and Government Relations. "In Economy Parking, there are plenty of spaces. It's very easy to get to the terminal and it's only $10 a day."
The economy parking garage is located near the airport entrance. Shuttles transport passengers to and from the main terminal. Zink suggests travelers leave 10 minutes earlier to accommodate travel between the main terminal and the economy parking garage.
"The pain will be well worth it. The airport is going to be even better than it is already," she said.
According to Zink, the construction project requires closing two floors of the short term parking garage. The move limits parking for both short and long term garages. It also excludes overnight parking in the short term garage through mid-February.
"This is a big year for us," said Zink. "This is an impact the customers are going to see. In the next year, we've got a lot of construction going on and a lot of really exciting things happening."
Airport officials announced plans to open 30 of 65 new restaurants and shops by the end of the year. The main terminal additions include Hard Rock Cafe and PF Chang's.
"Part of the work that we're doing in closing those parking garages is related to the Hard Rock Cafe and PF Chang's" Zink told Fox 13 News.
More than 1,000 construction workers are expected to work at the airport every day in January and February.
Other travel changes impact those picking up passengers. Circling the terminal is not allowed.
"The small road around the terminal is closed anyway, so it's really not easy to circle the terminal," said Zink. "You're way better off waiting in the cell phone lot."
Before traveling to TIA, Zink said those with questions or concerns about handicap parking availability may contact the airport for more information.