ATLANTA-Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport is poised to begin its 10-year, $5.4-billion expansion. Perhaps one of the most welcome additions will be the planned international terminal. It is now designated to go up right next to the coming 28 international arrival-and-departure gates at Concourse E on the east side of the airport. That’s a four-gate increase.

The 1.5 million-sf terminal will cost about $720 million, including expanded parking, a taxiway and a roadway extension as an exit from the east end of the airport. The project is expected to be completed by 2004.

Meanwhile, travelers from overseas–some five million a year–coming into the world’s busiest airport, will endure an often-confusing baggage claim and recheck as well as a 1.5-mile journey to the main terminal. Even via the underground people mover, it’s a long haul.

Clayton County is celebrating the choice of the site and the planned roadway connection. Clayton hopes it will enjoy a development of hotels and services for international travelers similar to the hotel development that sprang up along the northwest and west sides of the 3,750-acre airport.

Waiting for redevelopment on the east side of the airport is the former Mountain View neighborhood now called the Mountain View Redevelopment Area. Residents abandoned the community when Atlanta Airport expanded and jet noise made the area unlivable.

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