BWI gets $12 million federal grant to repave runway

BWI has received a $12 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help pay for the repaving of its longest runway, members of Maryland's congressional delegation announced Wednesday.

Work on Runway 10-28, the 10,502-foot asphalt strip that extends east to west, will begin in late August and is set to be completed before the Thanksgiving travel rush. The runway repaving is expected to cost $40.3 million and support more than 500 jobs.

"This is a big project and those federal dollars are really important. We were counting on them," said Paul Wiedefeld, executive director of Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. "This keeps us on schedule. The airlines count on the schedule not slipping."

The runway was rehabilitated in 1987 and lengthened in 1993.

In making the announcement, Sen. Benjamin Cardin called BWI "an economic center for our region," saying it brings about $5.9 billion in revenue a year to the state.

Wiedefeld said passengers would not notice any change in airport operations, though the 9,500-foot Runway 15R-33L — which extends northwest to southeast — will be busier.

The $12 million grant is part of a multiyear, $350 million program to bring all of BWI's runways into compliance with federal safety standards by 2015 by expanding the shoulder and smoothing areas for planes that overshoot, undershoot or veer off the runway, Wiedefeld said.

Preparation work on Runway 15R-33L will be done next year and paving will follow in 2014.

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