Travelers have been asked to arrive an additional hour early at George Bush Intercontinental Airport due to construction

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Travelers were frustrated by traffic congestion that one described as “unacceptable” over the George Bush Intercontinental Airport Memorial Day weekend.

The construction of a new world-class terminal has closed much of Terminal E and has led to backup drivers trying to pick up and drop off passengers.

A photo posted to Twitter by a traveler over the bank holiday weekend shows people walking down the street with their suitcases.

Travel has picked up again since the pandemic began, according to the Houston Airport System. Air traffic at Bush Airport was predicted to be just 6% lower than during the pre-pandemic bank holiday weekend of 2019.

Jessica Narvaez, who lives in Houston, said she arrived at the airport four hours before her flight departure time.

“It feels like it’s going to last forever,” Narvaez said. “It takes about two or three hours to get through.”

Augusto Bernal, a spokesman for the airport system, urged travelers to show up an hour before their scheduled appointment.

“It will save a lot of trouble and help passengers get to their gate comfortably,” said Bernal.

Airlines have alerted passengers to the delays, and the airport system has posted a delay notice on its website.

Jimmy and Tammy Sciarillo, who live in the Spring area, said they heard about the delays from friends on social media and from United.

“Get here early,” Tammy said, friends warned others on social media. “There is a lot of traffic. Expect delays. Be patient.”

They had no trouble getting through the airport for their trip to a family wedding in Florida last weekend.

“We flew in last week and came in extra early because we heard the stories,” Jimmy said. “We sailed through.”

Bernal said they see the most traffic jams during the 4pm to 8pm rush hour Thursday through Sunday

The airport is working on options to hopefully alleviate some of the traffic congestion.

“In early June we will see some relief on the curb of South Terminal Road for Terminal E,” Bernal said. “We will be removing the ADA shuttles because the elevators will open. That will make room for an extra lane at that curb.”

Bernal said they’re constantly analyzing different ways to improve traffic flow, but right now it’s about “real estate and space on the road.”

The multi-storey car park at Terminals D/E was demolished last summer for the construction of the new terminal. Available parking spaces can be difficult to find during peak travel times.

“The biggest recommendation is to secure your parking space online,” Bernal said. “You can go online and reserve your spot so you don’t have to drive around looking for a parking spot.”

Construction of the new terminal is expected to be completed in 2024. Until then, traffic jams are to be expected.

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Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved. Travelers have been asked to arrive an additional hour early at George Bush Intercontinental Airport due to construction

Dais Johnston

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