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Orange County

Airport Will Add Four Checkpoints

March 10, 2004|Dan Weikel | Times Staff Writer

A $4-million expansion of security checkpoints at John Wayne Airport to improve airline safety and ease delays for travelers won approval Tuesday by the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

The money, authorized as an emergency expenditure in order to comply with federal requirements, will expand floor space in the main terminal and create four new screening lines to handle growing passenger volumes. Most of the cost of the project is covered by a federal grant.

The airport's eight checkpoints have grown increasingly congested since Sept. 11, presenting potential security risks as lines block exits on the departure level.

Justin McCusker, an airport spokesman, said the main terminal will be expanded by 3,400 square feet to accommodate two additional security lines each for the north and south wings.

Builders will cover up openings in the floor that now give passengers a view of the lower level. Those areas are near the existing security checkpoints.

Airport officials plan to finish the project in May or June.

The airport terminal was designed to accommodate 8.4 million passengers annually. Last year, about 8.5 million travelers passed through the facility.

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