Press Release Article


Date: Jun 29, 2010
Press Release Number: 44-2010

Flights resumed on John F. Kennedy International Airport’s “Bay Runway,” the region’s longest and busiest runway, on June 28 after a four-month closing to reconstruct the runway, implement flight delay measures, increase the width to handle the world’s largest commercial planes, and transform it into a state-of-the-art runway for the future. 

The project was completed on budget and ahead of schedule, ensuring that airlines could function at full capacity as the busy summer travel season ramps up.

New York Governor David A. Paterson said, “With the completion of the Bay Runway reconstruction, John F. Kennedy International Airport has stepped boldly into a new era of transportation that will mean jobs, new revenue, and greater economic growth for the entire tri-state region.  The project represents a vital infrastructure investment that will boost our economy by making the region a more accessible and desirable place to live, work, and do business.  My thanks to The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for its leadership and hard work; to our airline partners, whose cooperation and sacrifice were so essential; and of course to the Federal Aviation Administration for its collaboration and expertise.”

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “This is a model example of the Port Authority completing a critical project on time and on budget.  It is an impressive accomplishment that will help reduce flight delays for decades to come.”

Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said, “On schedule, on budget and delivering a product that will have an immediate, tangible and lasting impact on the traveling public.  This is the Port Authority at its best.  I want to thank our Port Authority team, our main contractor Tutor Perini, the FAA and all of the airlines for the incredible amount of planning and coordination that went into making this project so successful.  I also want to thank Governor David Paterson, our Congressional delegation and the Obama Administration for securing the stimulus money to help make this project real.”

Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni said, “Cooperation from contractors, the airlines and the FAA was critical to this project.  They worked with the Port Authority to ensure the work was a success while keeping disruptions to flights at a minimum.”

Denise Richardson, Managing Director of the General Contractors Association of New York, said, “The completed construction of the complicated Bay Runway project is a testament to the hard work, dedication and skill of the contractor, Tutor Perini, and of the close partnership with The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  This project, completed early and on budget, will reduce air traffic delays at JFK by over 10,000 hours per year – delays that cost the local economy hundreds of millions of dollars in lost business per year.  The General Contractors Association of New York is very proud of the vital role that GCA member Tutor Perini played in the success of this project.”

As the Bay Runway – last refurbished in 1993 – and its asphalt overlay approached the end of its lifespan, the Port Authority researched the available options.  The agency’s  planning aimed to increase the utility and efficiency of the runway and decrease the maintenance costs, all while providing tangible benefits for the customer.

The Bay Runway’s new concrete surface is expected to last 40 years, replacing the 13-year-old asphalt surface, which has a much shorter useful life.  It will produce an estimated long-term savings of $500 million and while reducing the need for ongoing maintenance.

In addition, high-speed aircraft exits and access taxiways were part of the Port Authority’s delay-reduction program so planes can take off and land on the runway faster than ever before and so aircraft queuing could be reduced.  These initiatives are estimated to reduce flight delays by 10,500 hours a year. 

Months of extensive advanced coordination and cooperation by the Port Authority, FAA, airlines and contractors helped mitigate delays during the four-month closing. Contractors built a special dedicated road for construction vehicles; all materials were preordered and stored at JFK and two on-site concrete plants were constructed to speed the work.  Work proceeded around the clock to ensure the Port Authority met its four-month schedule commitment.

The $348.1 million runway project supports 2,500 jobs, including direct construction work, asphalt and concrete production, running aeronautical lighting and food services.  A total of $15 million was obtained through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with the rest funded by the FAA and the Port Authority.

JFK handles 48 million passengers annually as one of the nation’s busiest airports, with the Bay Runway typically handling a third of the traffic.

Work began on the 14,572-foot long Bay Runway – the longest at JFK by more than 3,000 feet – in July 2009.  On March 1, the bulk of the work commenced with the four-month closing to complete 10,925 feet of the runway.  The runway reopened on June 28 with all navigational features.  The remaining 3,647 feet of the runway work will be completed in two phases in the coming months.

The Bay Runway – one of only three in the U.S. long enough to land the NASA space shuttle – used enough concrete in this project to fill the New Meadowlands Stadium to a height of 64 feet.

Environmental considerations were integral to the project.  Approximately 300,000 tons of asphalt millings was reused on the runway’s sub-base, taxiways and service roads.  Much of the truck traffic remained on-site because of the proximity of the specially built concrete plants, speeding work and limiting congestion on area roadways.  Additionally, a total of seven acres of installed turf grass for the project will help reduce erosion and improve filtration.


The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Jennifer Friedberg or Ron Marsico, 212 435-7777

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Stewart International and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Port Authority Auto Marine Terminal; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan and is a partner in the Access to the Region’s Core tunnel project.

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