Runway reconstruction at San Francisco International Airport is advancing ahead of schedule, potentially limiting the delays which slowed flight plans for thousands of travelers over recent weeks, according to an airport report.
Work crews completed the first half of repaving work on runway 28L over the weekend, about two days sooner than initially anticipated for the construction project slated to finish before the end of the month.
Reopening a segment of the runway is expected to boost the airport’s capacity and cut down on the flight delays which have jammed up swells of travel plans since the work started in early September, according to a report from airport spokesman Doug Yakel.
The flight logjam is not expected to be cleared entirely though, as the report acknowledged the threat of delays continues until the second phase of work is finished, targeted for Friday, Sept. 27.
“SFO still advises travelers to continue to expect delays and potential cancellations, and recommends that travelers contact their airline directly for updates,” according to the report.
Hundreds of flights have been delayed or canceled since construction started, confusing plans for thousands of travelers both entering or exiting the region’s primary gateway. The flight backup worsens throughout the day, as the delays grow more severe after about 9 a.m.
When the work started, flight backups were more common due to high winds as some trips were directed to alternate runways, according to the report. While the weather conditions have improved, airport officials still urge caution for travelers planning their trips.
Both domestic and international flights have been stalled or canceled due to the ongoing work, but most negatively affected have been short trips, according to the report. Some arriving flight delays Monday, Sept. 16, lasted in the neighborhood of three hours, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, while other departure delays were in the neighborhood of 30 minutes.
Work is continuing overnight through the month to complete the project, expected to cost $16.2 million, provided by the federal government, according to the report.
Officials elected to complete the work over three weeks in September, under an effort to take advantage of the brief respite between busy travel seasons during the summer break and winter holidays, according to the report. The fair weather experienced locally over the month has contributed to the project as well, since repaving requires a dry climate, according to the report.
In all, the project aims to reconstruct a 1,900-foot stretch of runway 28L, as well as replacing lighting and drainage systems, according to the report. The work targets fixing issues identified in 2017, when structure issues were discovered during a previous repaving program, according to the report.
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