At the nation’s seventh busiest airport, safety areas for two runways did not comply with Federal Aviation Administration design standards. The project involved $220 million of airfield improvements in two phases, including program management, design assistance and construction management.

The team closely coordinated with the city to present two options that met limited risk criteria, environmental constraints and schedule concerns, such as runway closures with minimal delay and disruption, team members say.

The options “helped alleviate airlines’ concern about having multiple runways closed for an extended duration by demonstrating to the airlines that based on the delay analyses, the proposed strategy was the least impactful to airfield operations and the most effective plan to meet the schedule,” explains Mark W. Fantozzi, associate vice president of aviation for AECOM.

Two fences presented the project’s most significant challenge. A frangible blast fence, constructed of fiberglass with connections that break upon impact, collapses and folds down on itself if hit from any direction, especially in a frontal collision, Fantozzi says.

“As far as I know, it is the first frangible blast fence of its type,” he adds. “It presented the best trade-off between operational safety, conformance to RSA standards and other issues associated with jet blast and control of aircraft movements on taxiway A.”

The team also constructed—in just 24 hours—a temporary 8,000-ft airport operations area (AOA) fence that incorporates blast protection as well as serving as an AOA security fence. The team completed this two weeks faster than standard AOA fences, Fantozzi says.

The scope included adding ground domain surveillance—an automated aircraft position sensing system—as part of the FAA’s transition to the Next Gen System. The project was delivered in August 2014, 20 months ahead of schedule without significantly affecting air traffic and with no injuries or aircraft incursions.

San Francisco International Airport Runway Safety Area Program Services

San Francisco

Key Players
San Francisco International Airport
Lead Design Firm and Civil Engineer City and County of San Francisco
Program Manager and Structural Engineer AECOM
Contractors Golden Gate Constructors (Phase 1); Disney Construction, Bass Electric, Gallagher & Burk Inc. and Pavex Construction (Phase 2)
Construction Manager Parsons Brinckerhoff (Phase 2)
Consultants Lean Photometrics Inc.; AGS Inc.