Denver International Airport broke ground in late May on a $1.5-billion gate expansion project that will add 39 new gates to the existing concourses by spring 2021, a 30% increase in gate capacity. The expansion is expected to help DIA meet its growing passenger load, up 5.3% from last year to nearly 61 million passengers passing through the airport annually.

The new gates will be added to the ends of the three existing concourses. All the new gates will be operational by spring 2021, with four gates opening on Concourse B-West by 2020. The 39 gates will be built as follows: 12 gates added to Concourse A-West, four gates to Concourse B-West, seven gates to Concourse B-East and 16 gates to Concourse C-East.

The gate expansion project is being managed by two joint-ventures: Holder Construction and FCI Constructors Inc. on Concourse B-East and Concourse C-East, and Turner Construction and Flatiron Construction on Concourse A-West and Concourse B-West.

HNTB Corp. and Jacobs Engineering Group are contracted for architectural and design services on the project.

“This is Colorado’s number one economic engine, and we have worked hard to make it stronger by adding 11 new airlines, 13 new international destinations and 28 new domestic destinations since 2011,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

The gate expansions are separate from the airport’s terminal renovation, a $1.8-billion public-private partnership led by Great Hall Partners. That project will relocate security-screening areas, move ticket counters and improve visitor amenities inside the terminal. The Great Hall project is scheduled to start later this summer.