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What’s changed at the Salt Lake City International Airport? Everything

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SALT LAKE CITY — Whether they’re coming to ski Utah, stargaze at the Sundance Film Festival, tour Temple Square, watch a Utah Jazz or University of Utah game or take off in a rental car to Zion, Arches or any of the state’s national parks, the first thing air travelers will see is the “New SLC.”

Salt Lake City’s $4.1 billion airport replacement opens to travelers Sept. 15, bringing online more than 4 million square feet of space that Salt Lake City International Airport officials say can easily handle the more than 26 million passengers that arrived last year, and it is built to accommodate even more in the future.

Here’s what you need to know about the new Salt Lake City International Airport:

How it was built

  • It took over 8.3 million labor hours to build, according to airport officials, and used more than 3,200 steel piles driven into the ground and over 7,600 stone columns to stabilize the ground.
  • The new complex was built next to the 50-year-old terminals, which will be demolished as the new facilities open.
  • The $4.1 billion rebuild was funded with airport revenue and marks the first major hub airport replacement built in the 21st century.

A Delta departure gate in the new Salt Lake City International Airport’s main terminal in Salt Lake City is pictured on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

What to see

  • Concourse A, which will eventually house Delta Airlines’ gates exclusively, is connected to the terminal building with a grand entrance called the Plaza, with 50-foot floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the Wasatch Mountains.
  • Concourse B, which is slated to open in October, connects to Concourse A with an underground tunnel beneath the taxiway.
  • Throughout the new airport are also countless art installations, including the centerpiece “The Canyon” — a football field-sized installation by California-based artist Gordon Huether made of more than 500 wavy, fabric-covered, aluminum-framed fins that sweep across the upper walls of the central terminal and illuminate with a programmable lighting system.

Restaurants and shops

The concourses also have space for 58 restaurants and shops, a mix of Utah favorites and national brands including Frye, Hip & Humble, White Horse Spirits & Kitchen, Shake Shack, Squatters Pub, Cafe Rio, Bruges Belgian Bistro, Starbucks, Lego Store, iStore and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

Other features

  • A new baggage system that contains over 7 miles of conveyor belts, intentionally built to accommodate skis, snowboards, bicycles and other items Utah-bound travelers often bring.
  • 24 restrooms all 300 feet apart so passengers will never be more than 150 feet away.
  • 31 escalators.
  • 32 moving walkways.
  • 3,600 public parking stalls, twice the amount from before, and a camera-based sensor system that uses lights to indicate where open spots are.
  • Onsite rental car companies with 1,200 parking garage spaces.
  • 78 gates.
  • Six dual-use international gates, all with jet bridges.
  • A 28,000-square-foot Delta Sky Club and an outdoor Sky Deck.