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TSA expanding at the Rogue Valley International Airport

Construction started on Wednesday, but security officials say it shouldn't delay holiday travelers.

Posted: Dec 19, 2019 6:21 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- It's going to be a hectic holiday season for travelers. More than 42 million people are expected to fly this holiday season.

If you're planning to catch a flight the Rogue Valley International Airport, don't be surprised when you're going through security and you see some construction.

Taylor Frantzen was flying home from Medford to Virginia on Thursday. He got stuck at the Rogue Valley airport for more than 7 hours. He missed his first flight that was scheduled to depart at 5 a.m.

"The line for TSA  was wrapped around the airport, it was terrible," Frantzen said. "I looked where I was and looked at TSA and I was like, that's not happening."

Frantzen got there during security's busiest time at this airport, which is between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. Security told NewsWatch12 there's about 600 people at the Rogue Valley airport at that time every day, which is why TSA is expanding.

Debbie Smith, the Deputy Director of Security, said, "We hit a record breaking one million passengers last year and we've surpassed that already this year and 2019 isn't even over."

Due to the increase in travelers, the airport decided to add an extra TSA checkpoint. It's a decision that's been in the works for the last 6 months and finally kicked off Wednesday night.

"The third lane will go over there by that glass wall over there and these two lanes will move over to the more permanent wall," Smith explained.

She said this will decrease wait times and prevent future repeat-cases of what happened to Frantzen this morning. Most of the construction is taking place at night, so it shouldn't impact any holiday travelers this month. Smith said it's expected to be complete February 2020. 

If you're flying at all this month the message is still the same as always:

"Don't forget to arrive two hours early, like they tell you to, even if you don't think it's necessary," Frantzen said. 

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