Newark Liberty Airport is set to have one of its main runways completely refurbished. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will spend $84 million on the project. The work is expected to last a year, with a completion date of the second quarter of 2022.
An $84 million investment
Runway 4R-22L is Newark’s primary landing runway and handles around 47% of the airport’s traffic. But it hasn’t had any major work done since 2012. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has confirmed that it now needs major refurbishment, which will take place over the next year.
The rehabilitation project will cost around $84 million. This includes a budget of $50 million dedicated to the construction of the project. The remainder of the budget will be spent on planning, engineering, and building of what the authority has called “other elements,” suggesting that the runway will be an upgrade and not just repairs.
In a statement announcing the project, James Gill, the general manager of the Port Authority’s New Jersey airports, said,
“Ensuring the continued safe operation of our runways in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards remains a top priority. Maintaining our runways is key to minimizing costly emergency repairs and unscheduled runway closures. We’re taking advantage of current reduced aircraft operations to minimize operational impact of the construction.”
What does rehabilitating a runway involve?
Generally, runways need rehabilitation and major work every eight to ten years. Newark’s runway underwent work in 2012, meaning this work is bang on time for the ten-year cycle. Usually, runways have significant damage and wear from heavy use, which means they will need resurfacing. In addition, there will be updated electrics, lighting, and infrastructure as well new signs and a paint job.
This project will also involve renovation to intersecting taxiways and runway shoulders. Of course, major work like this means the runway will be closed for at least some of the work.
Usually, most of the work can be carried out at the weekend and overnight when traffic disruption can be kept to a minimum. However, sometimes, closure is unavoidable; in Newark’s case, the runway is scheduled to be totally closed from July 6th to October 1st. The airport will work with the FAA to redirect traffic during this time.
A post-COVID boost
Of course, traffic is currently lower than in previous years due to ongoing COVID-related travel restrictions, so disruption will be minimized in comparison to other years. This makes it a good time to overhaul the runway without disrupting too many aircraft.
The project is also providing a local job boost. It is estimated that the entire project will create a total of 783 job years with $60 million in wages. This will give an economic boost to the area while the work is ongoing, something which will be welcomed after a difficult year for many.
Part of a larger project
This runway work feeds into a larger ongoing project to improve Newark Liberty. In 2017, construction started on a new $2.7 billion terminal to replace the existing, outdated Terminal A. In 2019 the Port Authority granted additional funding to plan the replacement of Terminal B.
The new Terminal One is set to open around the same time the runway work will be complete. With the potential of a whole new Terminal B on the way as well, Newark should be a real pleasure for the passenger in the future.
What do you think of Newark? Are you glad it is getting an overhaul? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.