Many Improvements Made to the Sky Harbor's Runways
Phoenix Aviation Department employees from several divisions have been busy in recent months with numerous projects relating to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s runways. Working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), workers have installed runway status lights, constructed new taxiway connectors and completed several other maintenance projects.
The first project was grant funded and involved adding two taxiway connectors or exits to the South runway. This project created increased efficiency by allowing planes to exit the runway much more quickly. Because of the new connectors, the FAA Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) can work more efficiently to move aircraft between the gates and the runways.
Another completed grant-funded project included improvements to runway safety areas. These are areas which create extra space off the ends of the runways, giving planes additional room to safely stop in an emergency. One recent project involved extending the runway safety area on the east end of the south runway. As part of the project, hard bank protection was installed along the north bank of the Salt River so the safety area could extend the full 1,000 feet. The Design and Construction Services Division worked extensively with the Planning and Environmental Division and the FAA in obtaining permits and grants for this project.
While the south runway was closed for these projects, a third improvement was also completed. Runway Status Lights were installed by the FAA and their contractor. These lights are imbedded in the runway and taxiway pavements to alert pilots when it is unsafe to cross, enter, or begin takeoff on the runway. This advisory safety system is fully automatic and designed to prevent planes from getting too close to other aircraft or ground vehicles while the runway is occupied. The system is controlled by the FAA and is part of a nationwide project being implemented by the FAA.
Other projects that were conducted during the 36 day closure of the south runway included concrete repairs, pavement light can repairs and concrete joint repairs. The Facilities and Services Division also conducted other maintenance projects such as rubber removal and painting of the edge lines and centerlines. Additionally, the Facilities and Services Electrical Maintenance section worked on manhole and electrical improvements/modifications.
All of the projects and improvements completed could not have been done without the coordination of several Phoenix Aviation Department Divisions, including Design and Construction Services, Planning and Environmental, Facilities and Services, Operations, Capital Management, and Business and Properties as well as the FAA.
“Everyone did an awesome job with the coordination and implementation,” said Special Project Administrator Candace Huff of Design and Construction Services. “We coordinated our field logistics to avoid interference with FAA ATCT operations, to minimize and eliminate potential schedule delays, as well as impact to operations related to these projects.”
Above and to the right, see a rendering of what the Runway Status Lights look like.
First published: January 5, 2011