ATLANTA — Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport marked a significant milestone on Wednesday night as the airport illuminated the first section of its newly built North Terminal canopy.

The canopy, a major component of the multibillion-dollar #ATLNext project, provides weather protection to curbside passengers and is slated to be completed in the fall.

Upon completion, construction will begin on the South Terminal Canopy. The complete project is expected to be concluded in the fall of 2019.

In future years, the airport’s two canopies will serve as architectural icons for the City of Atlanta.

The airport plans to illuminate the canopies to commemorate events such as Atlanta’s upcoming Super Bowl, Earth Day, Independence Day, and to celebrate local sports teams.

Once finished, over 3,600 LED panels will be diffused through the ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) canopy.

The canopy uses the same semitransparent ETFE material as Atlanta’s newly opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

After finishing all the steelwork earlier in May of this year, the ATLNext team shifted to applying the ETFE covering for the canopy.

The process of applying each ETFE section begins by raising the uninflated sections to the peak of the structure.

From there, it is secured to the top and is unrolled to cover the entire width of the canopy.

After securing the ETFE section in place, the sections are inflated. Following inflation, each section is tested for air pressure and is waterproofed.

On any given night, dozens upon dozens of construction workers can be seen working on and under the canopy as the team races against time.

Come the next morning, the roadway that serves as their construction site will once again be open to the traveling public and unfinished work is left for another day.

While the terminal canopies will be the most visible changes coming to the Atlanta Airport, other ATLNext changes include repainting and refurbishing the domestic concourses, modernizing signage throughout the airport, extending concourse T, and rebuilding the domestic parking decks.