Garage demolition clears way for Tampa International Airport expansion

With a boom, it was out with the old and in with the new at Tampa International Airport. Early Tuesday morning, crews safely demolished the old rental car garage.

It's a key part of Phase 2 of TPA's Master Plan and makes room for new express curbsides, designed for passengers with no checked bags, as well as upcoming facility improvements, including a new guideway to the future 16-gate Airside D. 

Tuesday's demolition took place at 2 a.m. As a precaution, Tampa International Airport was closed to all guests between 1 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. No flights were scheduled during this time, and for safety reasons, all inbound traffic was blocked and rerouted at the entrance to the airport. 

"This is a major enabling project for our master plan expansion that will ultimately allow us to serve 34 million passengers," said Tampa International Airport spokesperson Danny Valentine. "This was a major implosion we had about 1600 pounds of dynamite taking down 32,000 tons of concrete, quite a big amount of concrete."

Phase 2 of TPA's Master Plan broke ground in early 2019. Along with 16 new express curbsides, it will include a 35-acre commercial development around the rental car center.

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"Those are for passengers without checked luggage and what it means is they have their boarding pass on their phone and they can go right from the curbside right to gate," said Valentine.

The development area will include a new office building, a convenience store with a gas station, a hotel, as well as a commercial curb for transit and other ground transportation.

Phase 3 of the expansion includes the 16-gate Airside D. Once the three-phase plan is complete, the airport will have the capacity for 34 million passengers every year.