SFO to Close Half its Runways For Safety Upgrades

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Two of the four runways at San Francisco International Airport will temporarily close in May to complete a federal safety plan, which was long in the planning before the Asiana crash. Kimberly Tere reports.

    Two of the four runways at San Francisco International Airport will temporarily close in May to complete a federal safety plan, which was long in the planning before the Asiana crash.

    SFO spokesman Doug Yakel said he expects the construction to take "three to four months" and not really affect arrival times. He did say, the closures might affect planes waiting in the "taxi queue," even though airport officials would be doing their best to alleviate those waits.

    Passengers on departing flights should expect delays of up to 15 minutes, officials said.

    Two Runways to Close at SFO For Safety Upgrades

    [BAY] Two Runways to Close at SFO For Safety Upgrades
    Two of the four runways at San Francisco International Airport will temporarily close in May to complete a federal safety plan, which was long in the planning before the Asiana crash. Chase Cain reports

    "I think there are going to be a lot of times where they say 15 minutes, but it's going to be much longer than that," said Missy Fox, an SFO passenger.

    Summer flights are also expected to be at a premium. Airlines usually increase schedules over the summer, but officials said there won't be as much flights available at SFO due to the construction.

    The project will complete a final phase of a multi-year, federally mandated Runway Safety Area construction project from May 17 through September.

    The goal of the project is to lengthen and possibly redesign runways to make a bigger safe zone for planes that overshoot them.

    "At the very end of runways will be block-like material that is designed to collapse predictably should an aircraft overrun a runway," Yakel said. "And it will allow the aircraft to come safely to a stop."

    During the runway closures, the airport will operate exclusively on its two major runways, Runways 28L and 28R.

    Construction on the airport's two other runways has already been completed. The first phase of the entire $214 million project began in 2008.

    The project has no connection to the crash on July 6 at SFO when Asiana Flight 214 clipped a seawall upon landing, injuring nearly 200. Three teenage girls from China died in that crash.