Governor David A. Paterson recently kicked off a $376.3 million runway reconstruction project for John F. Kennedy International Airport. The Bay Runway which at 14,572 ft is one of the longest runways in the nation will undergo rehabilitation to reduce delays and improve airport operations while supporting 2,500 jobs.

“If Kennedy Airport is to remain a portal to and from this city and our country, we must continue to invest in it through necessary infrastructure upgrades,” said Governor Paterson in a statement.

Construction on the Bay Runway or Runway 13-31 will begin immediately as part of the second phase of the JFK Delay Reduction Program and will consist of widening the runway from 150 ft to 200 ft as well as milling six inches of existing runway asphalt and overlaying with 18 inches of concrete. The lifespan of concrete is nearly five times more than asphalt and will provide an estimated long-term savings of $500 million while reducing the need for ongoing maintenance.

The project will also include the addition of a new drainage system, new electrical infrastructure, delay reduction taxiways and accommodations for future navigational aids and will support 1,000 direct and 1,500 ancillary jobs, including direct construction work, asphalt and concrete production, running of aeronautical lighting and food services. Improvements are expected to reduce flight delays overall by an estimated 10,500 hours per year.

The project is being funded through two sources; the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who will provide $292.4 million, and the Federal Aviation Administration who will provide $83.9 million. Of the FAA’s funds, $53 million will be used for work associated with the Delay Reduction Program and the remaining $15 million will be allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

In 2010, the Bay Runway will be closed for 120 days due to construction that will be managed by Tutor Perini Corporation, a civil and building construction company based in Sylmar, California. Through extensive cooperation and coordination with the FAA and the airlines, the PANYNJ expects to minimize the impact on airport operations.