Windsor Locks – Bradley International Airport will soon mark the end of time-consuming shuttle rides for travelers picking up rental cars, a milestone celebrated on Thursday with the completion of the $210 million ground transportation hub of the airport.
All of the airport’s car hire companies – now scattered in and around Bradley – will be consolidated in two weeks at the transport hub, linked to the terminal by a walkway.
At a ceremony in space on Thursday attended by dozens, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said the airport forms a powerful first impression for both leisure travelers and business. The ease of obtaining a rental car is so crucial that it can play a role in a company’s decision to locate in Connecticut and the Hartford area, Murphy said.
“It’s going to pay immediate dividends when it comes to state marketing, when it comes to the governor’s efforts to attract new business to this state,” Murphy said, “in addition to providing a much better experience families coming to visit loved ones, those here, as well as residents of Connecticut.
Governor Ned Lamont hailed the massive structure for the time it will save travelers and build on the addition of several nonstop destinations to Bradley since the pandemic began.
“Speed matters,” Lamont said. “It makes a big difference, and what an amazing introduction it is.”
Construction of the transportation center began three years ago and work has continued during the pandemic.
The project was financed through the sale of bonds by the Connecticut Airport Authority, the quasi-public agency that manages Bradley. But the debt will be repaid by user fees collected by car rental companies including Hertz, Enterprise, Avis and Budget.
User fees are $8.40 per day, the authority said.
Kevin A. Dillon, executive director of the authority, said the transportation hub will contribute to major environmental benefits, eliminating a quarter of a million bus trips every year.
And the rental car [companies] will make a significant investment in electric charging stations so they can eventually convert their fleet to electric,” Dillon said. “Another advantage.”
Dillon said he also sees redevelopment potential over the next few years for the Schoephoester Road land, where many car rental companies now have their lots.
Here are seven things to know about the new transportation hub:
The transportation center is 1.4 million square feet, nearly 200,000 square feet larger than Westfarms Shopping Center on the West Hartford/Farmington line.
A footbridge connects the terminal to the transport hub. The walkway leads to the third level of the Transportation Hub, where Enterprise, National, and Alamo are located. The top tier hosts Hertz, Dollar, and Thrifty; one floor below Avis, Budget and Payless.
Up to 2,300. According to Bob Bruno, the authority’s director of engineering, each level has vacuum and car wash stations that can turn over returned rentals in 15 to 20 minutes.
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A helix-shaped ramp on the west side of the center leads to a freeway entrance that eventually leads to I-91. A second helix on the east side is for returning rentals.
Yes. There are 850 spaces divided between the ground floor of the transport center and an adjacent covered ground.
The daily rate is $25 for “covered” parking and the parking rate has not yet been determined, the authority said.
The authority now operates approximately 8,000 parking spaces at the airport, including 3,500 in the existing garage. The spaces in the transport hub – representing a 10% increase – will be used if the garage – connected by a short access road to the transport hub – is filled, Bruno said.
The transport center will eventually host the arrivals and departures of the buses, ensuring connections with the trains. A definitive schedule has not been determined.
It is hoped that the transport hub will also have a direct connection in the future to a light rail spur of the Hartford line.
Kenneth R. Gosselin can be reached at email@example.com