MAC Facts: MSP Airfield ConstructionPosted on October 7, 2021
The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) airfield has over 7 miles of runway and 25 miles of taxiway. Maintaining and updating the MSP airfield so that airfield infrastructure (i.e., runways, taxiways, aircraft parking surfaces, etc.) are safe for aircraft take offs and landings is an ongoing process throughout the year. These maintenance activities also continue beyond the edge of the pavement as adjacent grass areas have to be maintained to meet federal standards.
Airfield construction and/or maintenance may require closing one or more runways at MSP temporarily, even when the activity is not occurring on the runway. Additionally, construction activities can impact how the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) assigns aircraft to open runways.
Throughout the summer, various projects occurred on the airfield including reconstruction of portions of Taxiway A, Taxiway B, and adjacent areas of the G Concourse apron. Work for this project included concrete breaking, removal, excavation, and placement of granular material, crushed aggregate base, concrete pavement, bituminous shoulders, pavement markings, taxiway centerline and edge lights More information is available here. The project is expected to be completed in November 2021.
Runway 17/35 has been closed since September 7 for runway safety area restoration work. The runway safety area is the area adjacent to a runway that is prepared and suitable for reducing the risk of damage to aircraft in the event of an aircraft exiting the runway. The safety area must be maintained so that it is clear of debris, drained and graded and able to support aircraft, snow removal equipment and aircraft rescue and firefighting operations. The specifications for a runway safety area exist to ensure proper drainage and to prevent water from ponding adjacent to the runway. More information is available here.
Aircraft operating at MSP have been directed to use Runways 12L/30R and 12R/30L while Runway 17/35 is closed.
Runway 17/35 is set to reopen on October 15. Residents living below flight paths for this runway can expect a return of aircraft activity when the runway reopens.
As much as feasible, airfield maintenance and construction projects are scheduled to minimize impacts to airport operations. Activities often occur overnight when fewer aircraft are flying to and from the airport. The closure of Runway 17 was scheduled to begin after Labor Day, when aircraft activity typically decreases following the summer peak travel period.
However, even with these scheduling considerations, runway closures can have an impact on the capacity and efficiency of the airport. When a runway is closed, the capacity of the airfield to accommodate arriving and departing aircraft decreases, particularly during peak departure and arrival periods of the day, and delays can occur. Much like a lane closure on a highway, impacts during rush hour are more notable than periods of light traffic.
Runway use information and flight activity are available on the MAC FlightTracker. Information about runway closures of 30 minutes or longer at MSP is available at: www.macnoise.com/tools-reports/runway-closures. Anyone with questions regarding airfield or aircraft noise and/or runway closures may call the Community Relations Office at 612-726-9411.