Up­grades en route for Metro’s 1st run­way

$240M project for strip built in 1950s set for spring 2019

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY MARK HICKS The Detroit News

The first run­way built at Detroit Met­ro­pol­i­tan Air­port is set for a ma­jor over­haul to re­place the ag­ing strip and ease take-offs.

Air­port of­fi­cials hosted an in­for­ma­tional meet­ing Thurs­day for res­i­dents and oth­ers to learn more about the up­com­ing re­con­struc­tion of Run­way 3L-21R and its taxi­ways.

The es­ti­mated $240 mil­lion project is slated to be­gin in spring 2019 and wrap up by win­ter 2020, Wayne County Air­port Author­ity lead­ers said.

“It’s a full-depth re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion,” said Scott Roberts, cap­i­tal im­prove­ment pro­grams di­rec­tor with the air­port author­ity. “Re- plac­ing it will pro­vide sav­ings in time and ef­fort in main­te­nance. There are also some ex­ten­sions of taxi­ways that will help air traf­fic con­trol get the air­craft out to the run­way end for de­par­tures more ef­fi­ciently and get pas­sen­gers to their des­ti­na­tions.”

Ef­forts are ex­pected to take two con­struc­tion sea­sons to com­plete, with Run­way 3L/21R, which is near the McNa­mara and North ter­mi­nals on the Ro­mu­lus air­port’s east side, be­ing closed be­tween spring and fall 2019, said Theresa Samo­siuk, se­nior project man­ager with the author­ity.

The 8,500-foot-long run­way was con­structed in the 1950s. Su­per­vi­sors learned the run­way and as­so­ci­ated taxi­ways were near­ing the end of their use­ful life,

Part of the run­way and Taxi­way V were re­con­structed in 2009, and an as­phalt over­lay was in­stalled in 2015 to ex­tend the life for five years, ac­cord­ing to the air- port. But an ex­ten­sive up­grade is nec­es­sary since the pave­ment typ­i­cally has a life ex­pectancy of about 30 years and it must com­ply with cur­rent Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion stan­dards, Roberts said.

The plans come as travel in­creases out of Detroit Metro, the state’s largest air­port, which last year wel­comed 34.4 mil­lion pas­sen­gers, a mil­lion more than 2015, and of­fers some 1,100 flights daily to and from 140-plus non­stop des­ti­na­tions.

This year’s fig­ures have not yet been com­piled but are on track to top the 2016 num­bers by about 1 per­cent, spokes­woman Erica Don­er­son said.

Dur­ing the open house-style meet­ing Thurs­day at the Wayne County Com­mu­nity Col­lege Dis­trict Down­river Cam­pus in Tay­lor, air­port of­fi­cials high­lighted dis­plays de­scrib­ing some of the process and work ex­pected on the run­way project.

Crews are sched­uled to re­place run­way and taxi­way light­ing, storm wa­ter and un­der­drain sys­tems, cir­cuits and duct bank, pave­ment sen­sors, signs and pave­ment mark­ing. They’re also im­prov­ing a de-ic­ing pad.

Project de­sign has been un­der­way for months, and con­struc­tions bids go out next year. An en­vi­ron­men­tal anal­y­sis also is be­ing con­ducted.

De­par­tures are ex­pected to be di­verted to other run­ways at the air­port while 3L-21R is un­der re­pair, Samo­siuk said.

The on­go­ing con­struc­tion through­out the two years of the project, which in­volves ex­ca­vat­ing an es­ti­mated 1 mil­lion cu­bic yards, should not cause dif­fi­cul­ties for air­port trav­el­ers, she said.

The pub­lic has an­other chance to hear about the plans at a sec­ond in­for­ma­tional meet­ing ten­ta­tively sched­uled for early 2018.

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