As part of a multi-year, comprehensive series of airfield improvements, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI Marshall) will close one of its primary runways for approximately 90 days starting on July 9. Runway 15R-33L will be temporarily closed in order to complete a runway reconstruction project. As with any major airfield construction project, scheduled construction dates are subject to change based on weather conditions or other variables. BWI Marshall has worked closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and airlines to coordinate the work.
The approximately 90-day phase of construction work on Runway 15R-33L is not expected to affect airline operations. Runway 10-28, BWI Marshall’s other major commercial runway, will remain open and available during the work on Runway 15R-33L. During the temporary closure of Runway 15R-33L, local residents may notice a change in airline flight patterns near BWI Marshall.
Since 2010, BWI Marshall has carried out a number of major airfield improvement projects, including Runway Safety Area (RSA) improvements mandated by the U.S. Congress. Airports around the country must meet updated federal RSA standards by the end of 2015. RSAs are the surfaces surrounding airport runways that provide important safety margins for arriving and departing aircraft.
In 2012, Runway 10-28 was closed for several months for construction activities. In September 2011, BWI Marshall reconstructed the intersection of the two primary commercial runways. That work required the closure of the two primary commercial runways at BWI Marshall for 54-hours over one weekend.
The approximately $350 million overall program includes: runway pavement reconstruction, grading, airfield lighting improvements, taxiway upgrades, enhancements to navigational aids, and other associated projects. Funding for the program includes approximately $220 million in Passenger Facility Charge (PRC) revenues, an anticipated $93 million in federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding, and about $36 million from the Maryland Transportation Trust Fund. So far this year, U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, and Congressman John Sarbanes have announced over $26 million in federal AIP funds for the airfield work at BWI Marshall.
The work on Runway 15R-33L is expected to use approximately: 150,000 tons of asphalt pavement, 65,000 square yards of Portland Cement Concrete pavement, 110,000 linear feet of electrical conduit, 1,600 airfield lights, 800,000 square feet of pavement markings, and 9,000 linear feet of drainage pipe.
Runway 15R-33L has been closed periodically throughout the first half of 2014 in order to complete preliminary construction activities before the planned 90-day closure.