Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) in Pennsylvania, the US, has initiated works for the Security Checkpoint / Terminal Connector project.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held on 27 May 2021, where Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority (LNAA) joined federal, state and local officials along with regional organisations.

The new project is set to replace an underground tunnel route, which has been in use since 1974 as a direct connection for passengers between the main terminal and departure building at ABE.

LNAA executive director Thomas R Stoudt said: “The tunnel was never designed to implement Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening equipment post 9/11. The equipment keeps getting larger in size with enhancements that produce the highest level of security and safety.”

The project is expected to complete in 2023.

Upon completion, the project will involve the creation of a four-lane security checkpoint, equipped with advanced screening equipment provided by TSA.

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The terminal will have new vertical circulation equipment with redundancy to enhance ADA compliance.

It will have an enhanced air purification system and improved air circulation, as well as a separation of outbound and inbound passenger flow.

Stoudt added: “This project has received tremendous support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania led by Senator Pat Browne and the Lehigh Valley Delegation. We will continue to need more of that moving forward.

“The time is now for us to begin construction ensuring ABE maintains a competitive edge while delivering the LNAA’s vision of being the best regional airport system in North America.”

Recently, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will invest $10m in state grant funds that serve 12 Pennsylvania airports.

ABE received $1.7m to continue the terminal connector and security checkpoint expansion and upgrade terminal commercial development connectivity. This was financed with PennDOT Bureau of Aviation’s Aviation Transportation Assistance Program.