Runway reconstruction to resume at Tulsa International Airport
BY D.R. STEWART World Staff Writer
Saturday, December 29, 2012
12/29/12 at 5:49 AM
Beginning Wednesday, the main 10,000-foot north-south runway at Tulsa International Airport will be closed for construction for nearly six months, airport executives and federal officials said.
The airport will remain open over the next several months as contractors undertake the largest single airfield construction project ever awarded at Tulsa International Airport: the $19.9 million reconstruction of 7,000 feet of the main runway.
Airline traffic will be shifted to the 7,376-foot east-west, or crosswind, runway and the 6,101-foot west, or general aviation, runway at Tulsa International during construction, said Jeff Hough, deputy airports director of engineering and facilities.
"I don't think people will notice use of the west runway that much," Hough said. "They will notice the use of the east-west runway because it will be in regular use. And people living to the south along Memorial (Drive) will notice it too - no (airline) traffic."
Airport executives and representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration have worked with the design team at Atkins and the contractor Interstate Highway Construction Inc., Englewood, Colo., and airport tenants to minimize the impact to flight operations, officials said.
"Airport staff and contractors are committed to completing this project with minimal disruption to flight operations paired with acute awareness of the safety considerations that come into play with an airfield project," said Airports Director Jeff Mulder. "I consider this infrastructure project to be critical to the economic activity of our region and am pleased that we were able to move forward with an advanced construction schedule to minimize the impact to airport customers."
Airport and FAA officials said airline passengers may encounter flight delays or cancellations when weather conditions limit operations on the east-west runway.
If northerly or southerly winds exceed 25 knots or 29 mph, the cloud ceiling is below 500 feet or visibility is less than 1.5 miles, aircraft operations on the east-west runway could be affected, officials said.
"We don't see any issues in using those runways even in poor weather conditions," said FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro. "We had our (air traffic) controllers working with airport officials for several months on how we're going to handle (airline) traffic."
The two runways in use during the next six months have different navigation aids.
The east-west runway has a Global Positioning System satellite-based navigation system, while the west runway has the older non-satellite-based Instrument Landing System.
The west runway's asphalt pavement, unlike the concrete crosswind runway, is weight limited at 100,000 pounds, but operations with aircraft up to 150,000 pounds, such as the Boeing 737, will be permitted under adverse weather conditions, Hough said.
"A considerable number of aircraft flying in here don't have GPS technology and so will go around and use the west side (runway)," Hough said.
The runway project is the third phase of a four-part main runway reconstruction project that is expected to cost $55 million and take up to five years to complete, airport executives said.
The $6.8 million first phase began in April 2011 and rebuilt the southern 1,285 feet of the main runway.
The $6.8 million second phase began in February and replaced the northern 1,240 feet of the runway.
In 2014, contractors are expected to begin the most complex phase - and most disruptive to airport operations - the reconstruction of the intersection of the main north-south runway and the east-west runway.
The main runway was last reconstructed in 1982, airport executives said.
Phase 3 reconstruction of main north-south
runway, Tulsa International Airport
Dimensions: 7,000 feet long, 150 feet wide, 18 inches deep
concrete, or about 60,000 cubic yards of concrete, which
is equivalent to 15 miles of a two-lane highway
Cost: $19.9 million
Project duration: 135 days, beginning Wednesday, with
completion in mid-May to June, depending on weather
Contractor: Interstate Highway Construction Inc., Englewood,
Source: Tulsa Airport Authority
Original Print Headline: Runway redo
D.R. Stewart 918-581-8451
A United Express jet lands Friday on Tulsa International Airport's main north-south runway, which will close Wednesday for approximately six months. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World