DENVER — Denver International Airport officials have increased the number of gates they plan to add in an upcoming expansion, saying they’re needed to handle a growing number of airlines and routes.

Airport officials had planned to add 26 gates but now look to build 39 by 2021. The project will cost up to $1.5 billion, The Denver Post reports .

“The airlines are all growing,” airport spokeswoman Stacey Stegman said. “Almost every single airline wants to grow in Denver.”

They include United, Southwest and Frontier as well as smaller airlines, Stegman said.

Airport officials also plan a $1.8 billion terminal overhaul in cooperation with private companies.

More than 58 million travelers passed through the airport last year. The airport was designed to accommodate 50 million travelers a year when it opened in 1995.

The upcoming projects will enable as many as 80 million travelers annually. Airport officials have submitted four proposed design and construction contracts to the Denver City Council ahead of a hearing Wednesday. The contracts will likely get heavy scrutiny.

“We’re fortunate the airport was designed specifically for this type of expansion. But what I look forward to determining is whether this is the time and the price,” Councilman Kevin Flynn said.


Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com