Eppley Airfield’s new parking garage will take its first step Wednesday toward opening to the traveling public with the debut of the rental car facility.

Public parking in the new North Garage is expected to open later in July.

So Wednesday’s opening mostly will affect people flying into Eppley. The opening involves the first two floors of the new $70 million structure, along with the new rental car counter, said Steve McCoy, the Omaha Airport Authority’s director of air service and business development.

Labeled as the North Garage, the new facility sits north of the existing parking garage, which is now being called the South Garage. The new garage is along Eppley’s current exit routes.

Once the rental facility opens, that will do away with Omaha’s temporary shuttle bus system to get air travelers between their rentals and the terminal.

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Rental car returns will enter directly off Abbott Drive. Avis, Budget, Hertz and Payless Car Rental are on the first floor; Alamo, Dollar, Enterprise, National and Thrifty are on the second floor.

Customers will drop off their rental cars under cover of the garage a few steps from the customer service building. A covered walkway leads to the terminal.

Garage parkers will enter off Abbott Drive, too, without needing to use the existing driveway in front of the terminal. But rental car customers and garage parkers will have separate routes; the parking entrance is farther north.

In the garage, 1,000 spaces are dedicated for car rental companies. Another 2,000 public parking spaces will be available when the rest of the garage opens.

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