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Fare thee well, storied terminal names

  • Article by: SUZANNE ZIEGLER
  • Star Tribune
  • February 22, 2010 - 9:58 PM

The saga continues, pitting the Lone Eagle and the Happy Warrior against the memories of travelers in and out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The names Humphrey and Lindbergh will soon disappear from highway signs near the airport. The Metropolitan Airports Commission has launched an educational effort to get travelers used to the idea that they'll be flying in and out of Terminal 1 (Lindbergh) or Terminal 2 (Humphrey) as of this spring.

Airport visitors are already seeing billboards and videos that link the old names to the new.

Next month, temporary transition signs will be put up along the highways saying: "Lindbergh Terminal same as Terminal 1" and "Humphrey Terminal same as Terminal 2." 

Airport spokesman Pat Hogan said the idea is to head off any confusion. "We want to educate people ahead of time and get them thinking about Lindbergh as Terminal 1 and Humphrey as Terminal 2," he said Monday.

Some have suggested that both names be listed on the signs, but federal highway rules limit the number of characters on highway signs. The 1 and 2 designation, say officials of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), will be easier for drivers to scan as they head to the airport.

Another change that travelers should be aware of: Boarding passes currently indicate "L" or "H" for the terminal. Next month, they will convert to "1" or "2."

The permanent signs, some of which will list the airlines that fly out of them, will be installed beginning in early April, Hogan said.

One sign will require asphalt work and won't be done until May.

In July, the MAC voted to spend $2.2 million on the plan, saying that every year about 25,000 travelers report being confused about which terminal to go to.

The problem is compounded, they say, because the terminals are 3 miles apart by car and accessed by different highway exits.

The plan has drawn criticism because of its cost and de-emphasis of the historic recognition that the terminal names gave to politician Hubert H. Humphrey and aviator Charles Lindbergh.

But Hogan said Monday that "great bids" have reduced the cost of the project to about $1.4 million. Airport officials have stressed that the project's cost will be borne by airport revenue -- not tax dollars.

The plan includes 44 new signs along roads leading to the airport -- Interstate 494 and Hwy. 5.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation said anyone using those roads during that time should expect periodic lane and shoulder closings.

The terminals will still be named after Lindbergh and Humphrey, but their names won't be on the highway signs.

Suzanne Ziegler • 612-673-1707

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