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Earlier this week, Toronto Pearson International Airport broke ground on its second-busiest runway for major repairs. East/west runway 06L/24R will be closed for the next seven to eight months for a full rehabilitation, which will be completed in three phases. The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) said this is “one of the largest runway repair projects in the airport’s history.”
Runway 06L/24R was first built in the 1960s. Over time, the concrete sub-structure of the three-kilometer (1.9-mile) runway has deteriorated due to weather conditions and use. The GTAA expects the rehabilitation project to extend the life of the runway by 30 years, as well as enhance the safety of operations at the airport.
According to the GTAA, the runway project will have a very positive impact on Ontario’s economy, creating 4,000 jobs and injecting millions of dollars into the local economy.
“A strong Toronto Pearson will support a strong region, a strong province, and a strong Canada as we collectively emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Pat Neville, VP of airport development and technical services, GTAA.
Further, a sustainability approach will be applied to this project, as it will include the use of recycled materials and upgrades to 1,800 LED lights, which will help reduce the carbon footprint of the runway.
“Other environmentally friendly construction practices include using crushed concrete from the runway pavement removal for the sub-base and base materials, and recycled milling asphalt materials to build approach roads in the vicinity of the runway,” the GTAA said.
The work is beginning at a time when flight traffic has begun to increase at Pearson – in response to easing travel restrictions. While the project is expected to have some noise impact on surrounding communities, the GTAA said it has already worked with the airlines to adjust flight schedules throughout the duration of the project “to mitigate operational and community impacts.” The airport authority will “reassess” its approach as the project progresses to minimize impacts on neighbouring communities as much as possible.
It also confirmed that there is no permanent airspace change associated with the project, and any impacts are temporary.