A new 8,600-ft-long runway at Miami International Airport will go into the official pilots’ books Sept. 4–a milestone in the airport’s $4.8-billion expansion program.

URS Corp.’s Miami office led a design team that dealt with unknown utilities, drainage and a number of old maintenance facilities nearby dubbed "Cockroach Alley," says Steve Henriquez, URS principal-in-charge. "Once we [found] all utilities, it became easier," he says. The team completed design in nine months.

Gilbert Southern Corp., a Peach-tree City, Ga.-based subsidiary of Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc., was low bidder in 2000, with a $100-million contract. The contract has increased by about $15 million, due to additions such as a new taxiway for a cargo carrier, says Jerry Pfeiffer, a GS spokesperson. The firm faced $30,000 a day in liquidated damages had the project been late.

Asphalt pavement from an existing taxiway was milled and transported off site for recycling, while the concrete was crushed and recycled on site to make aggregate for new construction. More than 35,000 ft of drainage pipe was placed.


Alvaro J. Piedrahita, a designer with URS subconsultant T.Y. Lin/HJ Ross, serves as overall design project manager. He notes that the work was divided into some 100 phases. The new runway sits between an active runway and maintenance and cargo facilities for such non-stop operations as United Postal Service.

"The contractor worked three shifts and around the clock in certain areas," he notes. Miriam Gerov, project manager for Dade Aviation Consultants, the airport’s program manager, says weekly meetings during both design and construction cut review processes from months to weeks.

Last year, county commissioners postponed $600 million in airport capital projects as air traffic slowed (ENR 4/29/02 p. 11). But with numbers coming back, the new runway will add 25% capacity to Miami, among the world’s busiest 20 airports. Airport Aviation Director Angela Gittens says only six new U.S. runways have been completed in the past decade.