Construction will worsen parking chaos at Anchorage airport through busy summer season

The busy short-term parking garage near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport’s south terminal is set to undergo repairs starting in April and through the summer, limiting parking that’s already in short supply.

The airport serves more than 5 million passengers a year, including many who arrive during summer’s tourist season. The short-term parking garage is heavily used by people dropping off or picking up domestic passengers.

The airport has close to 2,700 parking spots in total, with nearly half of those in the garage, according to spokeswoman Megan Peters. About 645 parking spots will be unavailable during the construction.

Barricades are blocking the third and fourth floors of the garage and any vehicles remaining on those levels by April 1 will be towed to another location at the airport, Peters said.

The work may cause frustration for travelers during Alaska’s peak tourism season, she said, but the timing is necessary to take advantage of warmer weather.

“If we want the construction, then we have to do it during the temperatures where the concrete and asphalt can appropriately cure,” Peters said Thursday. “If we try to do it in the winter it’s not going to work as well and then we’re going to be back in the same spot again, quicker than before.”

The parking garage has not undergone major repairs since it was built in the mid-1980s, Peters said. The work getting underway involves ripping up surface asphalt and repairing the underlying concrete and infrastructure before re-paving and painting parking lines, she said.


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Once construction is completed on the top floors, Peters said, the first and second floors will close for the same repairs. The project is expected to be finished in October, she said.

The long-term lot and North Terminal parking will still be open this summer, along with shuttle service from the Park Ride & Fly lot, but Peters said spots will likely be hard to find. Parking has become an increasing frustration for travelers in recent years because the airport is usually at or near capacity, she said.

The garage was at capacity on Thursday and an online message on the airport’s website said long-term parking was also full. The airport advised travelers to “plan ahead for alternative parking.”

A number of businesses offer offsite parking and shuttle travelers to the airport. Alaska Park, for one, is seeing more customers given the airport’s reduction in space, but the company is not at capacity at this point, according to supervisor J.B. Ford.

Peters advised anyone picking up someone from the airport to wait at the cellphone lot or somewhere near the airport to avoid traffic congestion at the arrivals doors.

The airport updates its master plan every 10 years, and Peters said a long-term solution for parking problems will likely be discussed during the next update. The plan was last updated in 2015.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at