Summer of Steel: a Project Journey Update

Kristin Nevels Clarkson


Project Journey, the capital construction project that will transform the passenger experience at Reagan National Airport, is reaching a pivotal phase. Those traveling in and out of the airport will soon see several hundred tons of steel being assembled from the ground up. 

Until now, much of the work associated with building two 50,000-square-foot security checkpoints and a new 14-gate concourse has happened underground. It took months of planning and modeling to reach the point in construction where crews could begin to erect the frames of the buildings. 

For those close to the project, the start of steel erection is the most significant milestone. “It’s very exciting,” said Ryan Wolfgang, the project’s supervisory engineer. “There’s a lot of work that goes into getting out of the ground that passengers just don’t see.”

When steel erection gets underway, 230-foot cranes will be set up in each construction zone. Operators will move the cranes around the site as crew members assist in lifting and positioning each piece into place. Crews will work on the new concourse site during daytime hours and security checkpoints at night. 

Once the steel structure is complete, crews will install other major components like concrete floors and exterior glass. “It’s a critical piece in the construction of the new checkpoints and the new concourse,” said Wolfgang. “Structural steel will open up the next phase of work. Then, the door just keeps opening bigger and bigger and bigger.”

Wolfgang said the most challenging aspects of this construction phase include maintaining traffic on airport roadways, working in confined spaces, and ensuring each piece of steel fits together according to plan. 

While there will be no passenger impact on the new concourse site, lane closures in front of Terminal B/C will continue as sections of steel are lifted and secured. Passengers should see fully framed buildings on each site by the end of 2019.

To learn more about the construction, visit