Portland International Airport's south runway was reopened in October 2011 after being completely rebuilt over the 2011 summer. The South Runway Reconstruction Project was the final phase of a three-year runway improvement program. The first two years focused on the north runway, with a complete rehabilitation of the existing runway and an extension of the runway on each end.
The south runway reconstruction project was completed on time and under budget. While the runway had seen both routine maintenance and rehabilitation over the years, the wear and tear of aircraft landings had deteriorated the pavement joints and subsurface base. The project team determined that the best long-term approach was to completely reconstruct the runway. Pavement materials were evaluated as part of a life cycle cost analysis, and an all-concrete runway surface was identified as the preferred alternative. With a pavement design life of 40 years, construction-related aircraft noise impacts on neighborhoods will be lessened in the future.
The new runway surface is 19 inches thick and used an estimated 180,000 square yards of concrete—enough to pave a two-lane road for about 26 miles. The old asphalt runway, which was excavated in spring 2011, was completely recycled.