Tucson International Airport located in Southern Arizona is expected to undergo Airfield Safety Enhancement. The Tucson Airport Ongoing Infrastructure project is a multi-phased and facility-wide modernization endeavor to match up to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards. The estimated cost of the project is pegged at $281 million, majorly through funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), with around $100 million projected for runway expansion. The new infrastructure is targeted to be the largest project in the history of the Tucson International Airport since its inception about 70 years ago.
The scope of the Tucson Airport Ongoing Infrastructure work will involve the expansion of the airport, infrastructural upgrades, addition of another runway and expansion of the taxiways, as well as installation of new aircraft guidance systems to provide stability and assist in aircraft maneuvers. Last summer, the first phase of construction began on the electrical vault to refurbish sections that will enable the airport to have well lighted runways at night. This construction is proposed to continue for the next six years, with a targeted completion date sometime in the early part of 2025.
The Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) Western-Pacific regional director, Mark McClardy spoke on upgrading the old airfield design which poses difficulties in certain “hot spots”, with an unacceptably high number of incursions. He explained that the airport was safe, but enchantments were required to make it more efficient.
McClardy said, “It really got to the point where there were some stubborn hot spots for runway incursions that had to get addressed, and the only solution was changing the airfield geometry.”
The Tucson Airport Ongoing Infrastructure project will see a shorter, narrow runway commonly used by private aircraft and other smaller planes with a longer and broader runway that can be used by a commercial airplane. This runway will align side by side with the existing parent runway while crossing at 90 degrees with another runway used by military jets.
Phase two of the project is scheduled to last for about twelve months, with the framework involving the improvement on the pavements, the electrical unit and runoff and waste channels of the taxiways. After this phase, there will be three more phases of construction before the project is finally completed. The construction work will take place at the back end of the airfield, isolated from the terminals to prevent any interruption of commercial passenger flights