Ground has been broken on a $1.5 billion project to demolish the 1970s vintage terminal at Kansas City International Airport and replace it with a modern, light-filled facility capable of handling more travellers.

Bloomberg reports that the four-year renovation will be one of the biggest civic improvement projects in the city’s history.

The current airport, built in 1972, has three separate, U-shaped terminals and has not expanded in decades despite a trebling of passenger traffic. It will be replaced with a single large terminal with more restrooms, concessions, and other amenities, including more power plugs for travellers to charge their mobile devices — something that didn’t exist half a century ago.

In addition to the new terminal building, the project will include a new parking garage, road network, and tarmac improvements.

Tim Cowden, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council, said that while the current facility is “adequate for a market this size,” it was not competitive with other regional airports and may have contributed to Amazon’s decision not to locate a headquarters in Kansas City.

“The airport didn’t give off the dynamism and vibrancy that the city has,” Cowden said.

“Now it will.”