Boston Logan Airport Completes $100 Million in Runway Safety Projects


Runway Closure puts 150 construction workers on the job

BOSTON -- The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) today announced it had completed an expanded and enhanced Runway Safety Area (RSA) at the approach of Runway 33L at Boston Logan International Airport.  Designed to stop an aircraft as large as a Boeing 747-400 at 70 knots, the $63 million project began in 2011 and created approximately 70 construction jobs.

The safety area includes a new concrete pier 300 feet wide and extending 470 feet into Boston Harbor. A 500-foot by 170-foot Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS) bed was also installed to reduce the risk of damage to an aircraft in the event an aircraft undershot, overshot, or exited from the runway. Congress mandated that all commercial service airports improve their RSAs to meet Federal Aviation Administration standards to the extent feasible by 2015. 

Grant offerings by the FAA for design and construction of the safety area total nearly $50 million. Massport contributed approximately $13 million to build the new safety area and another $15 million to upgrade the runway’s navigational aids so that aircraft can land in zero visibility conditions, called Category III standards.

While the runway was closed for construction of the RSA, Massport also resurfaced its full 10,083-foot length, which was last done in phases in 1991 and 1996. This additional $22 million project created 80 construction jobs and utilized “warm mix” asphalt which is heated to between 250 and 275 degrees, some 75 to 50 degrees less than traditional “hot mix.”  Warm mix asphalt includes 18 percent recycled asphalt pavement, resulting in a reduction of carbon dioxide by approximately 4,500 tons, savings of diesel fuel of approximately 450,000 gallons and a savings of 62 billion BTU’s.

”The partnership between Massport and the FAA has been instrumental over the years in helping Logan  on its number one priority which is  the safety of our passengers and crews who use this airport,” said Massport Executive Director Thomas P. Glynn. “The installation of this runway safety area is one of many operational and technological upgrades Massport and the FAA have undertaken in recent years to improve the safety of Logan’s airfield.

Since 2006, the airport had been operating with an interim, EMAS system until it received regulatory approval and funding to extend the safety area. With completion, the runway 33L RSA extends the length of the original RSA from 187 feet to a total of 500 feet.

“This was a critical public safety project for Boston Logan and our ability to move forward in a timely and efficient manner was due in large part to the collaborative effort we share with the FAA,” said Director of Aviation Edward C. Freni.  “With the extended runway closure we were also able to move forward with runway resurfacing and effectively reduce future construction-related closures and reduce costs.”

Boston Logan, 15 minutes from the intersection of Route 128 and I-90 and five minutes from downtown Boston, serves as the gateway to the New England region and offers nonstop service to 75 domestic and 33 international destinations and in 2012 handled 29.3 million passengers. Boston Logan is the Air Line Pilot Association’s Airport of the Year for 2008 because of its commitment to safety. Over the past decade, the airport spent $4.5 billion on a modernization program that includes new terminals, public transportation access, parking facilities, roadways and airport concessions, and has been transformed into a world-class 21st Century facility.  The airport generates $7 billion in total economic impact each year.

Each year, more than one million tons of cargo pass through Massport’s terminals in the Port of Boston, which provide the shipping facilities New England needs to be a major international trader.  Cruiseport Boston  is a favorite port-of-call with cruise passengers, a record 380,000 passengers used the facility in 2012.

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