News & Insights

Airport Improvement Features Award-Winning Kimley-Horn Parking and Transit Facility

Ben Henderson Discusses Completing MSP’s Silver Ramp During Pandemic

Ben Henderson, PE, SE

Ben Henderson, PE, SE

Parking Consultant and Structural Engineer

To address increased travel demand at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP), the Metropolitan Airport Commission (MAC) invested in the construction of the picturesque Silver Ramp, an 11-story parking ramp and transit facility. Airport Improvement Magazine interviewed Kimley-Horn’s Ben Henderson, PE, SE, to learn more about some of the project’s challenges, including designing the structure around various landside and airside restrictions.

“We couldn’t go up. We couldn’t go down. We couldn’t go left or right. We needed to be so precise with everything we did, and always aware of how one thing could impact something else. We didn’t have tolerance for mistakes since they could impact operations at the airport. We spent significant effort to manage both design and construction risk, and ultimately put forward the best solution to maximize real estate for MAC long term.”

Although the parking structure opened on schedule—a schedule intended to greet a flood of passengers rushing to catch flights—the Silver Ramp facility stood vacant as COVID-19 slowed domestic flights and practically ceased international travel. For the MAC, it was not an option to delay construction of the Silver Ramp until the return of travel was more predictable.

“It’s unfortunate that the COVID-19 pandemic hit just as we were nearing the conclusion of construction. Because the MAC is always planning for the future and knowing parking demand at MSP is going to come roaring back at some point soon, we all knew that pressing forward toward completion of this award-winning, transformative project was the best thing to do.”

As restrictions are lifted, travel has already begun to steadily increase. The project team has a great sense of appreciation now for pressing on through uncertainty to complete the Silver Ramp and better meet the needs of travelers returning to the skies at MSP.

About the Expert

Ben Henderson, PE, SE

Ben Henderson, PE, SE

Ben is a registered Parking Consultant and Structural Engineer with more than 16 years of experience managing both large and small, multidisciplinary parking structure projects. He has extensive experience with functional design of parking structures, and design of parking access and revenue control systems, which gives him a unique skillset that he displays during the concept development and design phase of each project, leading to well-planned parking facilities specifically tailored to his client’s needs. In addition to his experience with the design and construction of parking facilities, Ben specializes in structural rehabilitation, remediation, and durable structural design that provides his clients additional assurance of parking facilities with lower life cycle costs and longer service lives.


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