A new exit plaza for cars departing all parking ramps at Terminal 1-Lindbergh at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport opened Sunday morning. It's the latest change among many taking place as part of the airport's $1.6 billion capital improvement project.

The new exit plaza and pay stations are closer to Hwy. 5 than the old exit plaza, which will be razed. A new 5,000-car parking ramp scheduled to open in 2020 is planned for the site of the old exit plaza, which prompted the relocation, airport officials said. The ramp should help alleviate parking constraints at Terminal 1-Lindbergh, where existing facilities regularly fill up for short periods on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

After leaving the exit plaza, drivers will make a series of right turns to join the outbound road with ample time to choose between exits to Bloomington or Minneapolis-St. Paul on Hwy 5, officials said. And drivers will pass a new 291-room InterContinental hotel rising at the airport.

The upscale 12-story hotel, the first on airport property, will open next summer.

Construction continues inside the terminal, too. Between now and 2022, both the ticketing (departures) and baggage claim (arrivals) levels at 54-year-old Terminal 1 will be completely remodeled.

MSP served more than 37 million travelers in 2016, making it the 16th busiest in North America.

Tim Harlow