Denver International Airport is starting two projects aimed at improving its heavily used runways. The two projects are located on Runways 7-25 and 8-26 and total $25 million.

Photo courtesy of DIA
The two projects are located on Runways 7-25 and 8-26 and total $25 million.

On July 1 at 4:00 a.m., DIA closed Runway 7-25 and started work on a $10.3-million reconstruction project. Runway 7-25 is one of DIA’s east-west runways located on the west side of the airfield. During the project, workers will replace approximately 400 concrete slabs that are showing signs of deterioration. The project is part of DIA’s ongoing runway rehabilitation program. The runway is estimated to reopen August 14.

Beginning Aug 15, workers will begin a $14.7-million project to upgrade the lighting system on Runway 8-26, the other east-west runway located on the east side of the airfield. DIA is replacing the quartz centerline and touch-down zone lights with energy-efficient LED lighting. This is the third runway in which DIA has installed new LED lighting.

Of the approximately 24,000 airfield lights, about 4,000 have been upgraded to LED fixtures over the last four years. The project is part of a wider effort to upgrade lights throughout DIA, including more than 5,400 lights located in the airport’s east and west parking garages. The Runway 8-26 complex will close Aug. 15 through Sept. 30 for the project.

“The safety of the DIA airfield is our top priority,” said DIA CEO Kim Day. “DIA is now 19 years old, and as our airport ages, our maintenance demands increase. Programs like our pavement management program allow DIA to proactively plan the best time and optimal investment for repairs, keeping our airfield in excellent condition.”

The Airport Infrastructure Management division maintains all six of DIA’s runways, which are composed of approximately 1.2 million sq yd of airfield concrete, including more than 150,000 individual concrete slabs. DIA’s runway rehabilitation program inspects, documents, maps and photographs each individual concrete slab on the airfield every three years for signs of deterioration and compares the actual rate of deterioration of the concrete versus the forecasted life of the slab.

In addition, airfield conditions are inspected daily by airport operations staff and annually by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Based on daily inspection findings, annual FAA inspections, maintenance inspections and data from the detailed panel inspections—as well as needs inside the DIA facilities, parking areas and roadways—DIA develops a five-year capital improvement plan to fund projects. The plan is routinely reviewed and updated.

The FAA has consistently rated DIA’s runways in good condition and the airport’s runway rehabilitation program has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including nine AmericanConcrete Pavement Association Awards for Excellence in Concrete Pavement for airfield work. DIA also conducts ongoing maintenance activities designed to extend the life of all paved surfaces. DIA’s airfield costs are paid through a combination of FAA grant funds and airline fees.