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TRAVERSE CITY, MI-Northern Michigan’s premier airport opened a $45-million terminal Wednesday at Cherry Capital Airport.

The airport board awarded the construction contract for the biggest government project in the state north of Lansing just two weeks after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, making it difficult initially to implement some of the new security requirements, says airport director Steve Cassens. The airport’s new baggage screening area required expansion of the building. It now houses a system that can scan baggage for explosive devices, timing mechanisms and other weapons at a rate of 400 bags per hour, making it one of only nine similar systems in the country.

Other changes allowed the airport to move its gift shop from behind the security checkpoint, but architects weren’t able to move the restaurant outside security, and the airport is having trouble finding a vendor to fill the spot. The changes delayed the opening by nine months.

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