Runway 8L/26R is closed for replacement

Filed in News by on September 17, 2014

Airfield construction 236Shortly before the clock ticked into the early hours of Sept. 16, Hartsfield-Jackson’s Runway 8L/26R at the northern edge of the airfield was closed to all flights. When the sun rises on Oct. 15, more than 20 acres of new pavement will await the resumption of regular take-offs and landings.

After several seasons of patching the 35-year-old runway, the Department of Aviation is now undertaking what’s known as a “full section replacement,” explains P&D’s Assistant Director of Project Development Kathryn Masters.

“The existing pavement has reached the end of its useful life span,” she says.

That said, the outer edges of the 9,000-foot-long runway have seen relatively little use and will be left intact, Masters says. The 29-day project calls for a 100-foot-wide strip down the center of the 150-foot-wide runway to be torn up and completely replaced – all told, about 900,000 square feet of pavement.

The section to be removed consists of a 16-inch deep slab of concrete on top of a bed of cement-treated base and soil cement; that will be replaced by a 20-inch-deep section of concrete on top of two inches of asphalt.

“Cement itself hasn’t changed much since the old runway was built, but the cement additives have been improved over the years so that we could see 50 years of use out of the new runway,” Masters says.

The runway replacement is part of a $38 million capital improvement project that also includes the repaving of two runway exits and taxiway access points, as well as runway blast pad, all on the Airport’s northern side. The replacement of the runway accounts for roughly $24 million of that cost and will be accompanied by new, state-of-the-art LED runway lights.

DOA staff is confident the Oct. 15 deadline will be met – especially since the contractor is obligated to pay $500 a minute for late delivery, which adds up to $720,000 a day. The old runway materials will be ground up and recycled as filler for other construction projects.

Since September and October are by far the slowest months for air travel at ATL, air passengers should not notice any change in Hartsfield-Jackson’s flight schedules.

After all, says Masters, “We have three other 9,000-foot runways.”

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