San Francisco to close Runway 28L for 20 days in September 2019

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is to close Runway 28L for 20 days in September to construct a new base layer below the runway surface.

The closure will begin on Saturday, 7 September, 2019, and is expected to reopen on Friday, 27 September, 2019.

Airport chiefs said there is likely to be delays and cancellations in the period, as the closure will reduce the airport’s overall runway capacity. Both domestic and international flights may be affected.

The closure is being conducted to construct a new base for Runway 28L, one of two runways used primarily for arriving flights, in the area where it intersects with Runway 1L and 1R, which are mainly used for departing flights.

These two intersections are the most heavily-traveled section of the entire runway system at SFO, with more than 68 per cent of all flights crossing these intersections in 2018.

The total length of Runway 28L is 11,381 feet. The project will reconstruct a 1,900-foot section of Runway 28L, replace lighting and drainage infrastructure, and overlay a 600-foot section of Runway 1L.

SFO repaved the entire top layer of Runway 28L in spring 2017. During this project, core sampling and ground-penetrating radar indicated that the base layer was showing signs of fatigue cracking due to the large amount of aircraft activity in this area.

This issue required additional investigation and engineering that could not be addressed at that time. SFO staff have evaluated multiple options and concluded the best long-term solution is to excavate the section of Runway 28L at the intersection of Runway 1L and 1R to reconstruct the pavement structure, comprised of a cementitious aggregate base and a top asphalt surface.

With input from airlines at SFO, the project team selected the period of 7-27 September, 2019 for the closure to avoid the busy summer and year-end holiday travel seasons. This timeframe was also chosen for the low probability of precipitation, as dry weather is necessary for asphalt paving.

On 19 March, 2019, SFO said it will seek authorisation from the San Francisco International Airport Commission to call for bids for the construction of this project. The Runway 28L Reconstruction is a federally-funded project, with an estimated construction cost of $17.2 million.