With the increased growth of air travel into South Florida, and in particular Miami International, officials at Ft Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport and Broward County embarked on a massive project to increase capacity. Breaking ground on January 23, 2012, the project started to expand the previous general aviation runway 9R/27L to a six story elevated ramp runway to reduce flight delays at the airport and to keep up with increasing traffic demands into the area. The main reason for the ramping of the runway is to accommodate the current highway US-1 and the railway lines that currently run along the eastern side of the airport. It is not possible to relocate these transportation thoroughfares, so they will run through tunnels under the elevated runway.
Previously, runway 9R/27L was 5,276' x 100' and with the expansion will increase to 8,000' x 150' that is due to open in September 2014. Along with the expansion of the runway, the taxiways on the main north side runway 9L/27R are being increased to a full-length 75' wide taxiway and additional capacity of other taxiways on the airport to be able to cope with the increased capacity. A new expanded long-haul international terminal will also be constructed and additional capacity to the other terminals create that will ncrease gate capacity from from a total of 66 to 97 gates. The current cross runway, 13/31 will be closing in May 2013 and will be permanently decommissioned.
This new runway project is sure to attract more international air traffic to Ft Lauderdale as well as provide increased capacity for general aviation as well. The first sign of this new attraction is the announcement by Norwegian Airlines that starting November 29, 2013, they will institute two flights a week from Copenhagen and Stockholm. Initally announced to utilize leased A340 equipment, once the halt to commercial Boring 787 flights is lifted and Norwegian receives their Boeing 787s, that equipment will be used on the routes.
To take into account of the increase in general aviation traffic, FBO operator Sheltair has recently completed a multi-million dollar project to expand new hangar capacity close to the new runway. Other FBO operators are looking all looking at projects to increase capacity in their own operations.
One of the major efforts that is going into the contruction of the runway is the importing or masses and masses of dirt to fill in the space for the elevated runway as well as for the new runway. Dirt is brought in by train and then moved to the construction areas by truck. However, getting the dirt from the train trucks to the road trucks is bringing out some novel methods, including the positioning of the loaders in the train trucks as sohown in one of the pictures below.
September 2014 is going to be a very exciting time for Ft Lauderdale International Airport. As the photographs taken March 28, 2013 show, construction is well under way on the runway expansion and the new hangars at Sheltair are nearing completion.
A full version of the FAA impact study that details the full expansion can be viewed at http://www.faa.gov/airports/environmental/records_decision/media/rod_fll09_main.pdf
A Delta Boeing 757-200 landing on the soon to be decommissioned runway 13/31
The new hangars at Sheltair nearing completion
US highway 1 and the railway tracks - the reason for the elevated runway
The novel way of getting dirt from the train trucks to the road trucks - the loader in the train truck!
Some more time spent behind the camera lens....