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  Airport Construction Risk Management

Safety is of the utmost importance on any construction project and is especially emphasized in airport construction. Operational safety refers to both the safety of construction personnel and equipment as well as safety of operating aircraft.

Safety concerns specific to airports stem from construction equipment and personnel in the same operating space as aircraft. In general, aircraft are fast, have limited sight distance and can take a long time to stop. Jetliners typically take off and land between 130-155 knots (150-180 mph) (see Image) while taxing speeds can be as fast as 15-30 knots (17-35 mph). Limited sight lines from jetliner cockpits (see Image) means substantial blind spots and high speeds mean long braking distances.

Runaway Safety Area

A runway safety area (see Image) is the surface surrounding the runway that is maintained so that an aircraft that overshoots/undershoots or strays from the runway will suffer a reduced risk of damage. As such it should be free of objects including construction equipment. In general, no construction can occur within 200 ft from a runway centerline unless that runway is closed. If construction is closer, the only way to keep the runway open is to restrict aircraft operation on it to smaller aircraft that need smaller RSAs. For instance, resurfacing a taxiway that leads up to a runway will likely involve working in the runway's RSA and within 200 ft of the runway centerline. This will require that either the runway be shut down or restricted in aircraft operations

Taxiway Safety Areas

Similar to a RSA, a taxiway safety area is the surface surrounding a taxiway that is maintained so that an aircraft that strays from the taxiway will suffer a reduced risk of damage. It should also be free of objects including construction equipment. As with RSAs, adjacent work may encroach on TSAs and require additional taxiway closures.

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