SDFTue 11:18 PM EDT
Runway 11-29 (or crosswind runway) at Louisville International Airport (one of the few remaining features of the old airfield) is not used as frequently as the two parallel runways as winds typically come from the south to the north. However, on the rare occasions when winds shift to east-west, the crosswind runway may be the only runway that meets the operational needs of certain aircraft and pilots generally prefer to take off and land into the wind. All construction for the Runway 11-29 Safety Area Improvement Project will take place on SDF’s airfield. The project is designed to ensure that the safety areas for Runway 11-29 comply with FAA standards and fulfill a 2009 Congressional mandate that all Runway Safety Areas (RSAs) be fully compliant with current FAA standards by December 31, 2015.
Duration: Mid-May to November 1, 2015
Engineering Firm: HNTB
Construction Company: E&B Paving Construction
Cost: Approximately $18.8 million
As part of the project, an Engineered Materials Arresting System (EMAS) will be used because there isn’t enough room to build a standard runway safety area. An EMAS stops aircraft by the loss of the energy needed to crush the EMAS material. (EMAS is similar in concept to runaway truck ramps made of gravel or sand.) In mid-May, construction will begin on a 292-foot tunnel, which will run under the EMAS and tie into the airport’s existing West Perimeter Road. To construct the tunnel, the contractor will fragment the underlying rock using a controlled small-charge blasting process. These small-charge blasts will occur twice a day during the weekdays for 3 weeks. One will occur between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; the other between 6 and 8 p.m. (In rare instances, the work may need to continue during weekends.) To muffle the noise and contain the debris, the charges will be covered with dirt and explosion-suppression blankets.