Honolulu Airport In Need of Major Repairs

Hawaii's DOT officials are examining the main runway at Honolulu Airport.

Source : Tony Webster Flickr

December 11, 2023

Author : Patty Allen

Are you planning to head to Hawaii this year end? Then, be prepared to face some delays at the Honolulu airport, Hawaii's most key entry point.

The main runway at Honolulu Airport, Runway 8L, has come back into the spotlight with the announcement last week that emergency spalling repairs are currently being carried out and forcing aircraft to use alternate runways. It occurred after extensive repairs on 8L that everyone thought to have been completed. 

Concrete spalling is when cracks and fissures appear on reinforced concrete. This might have been due to the recent wildfire disaster.

According to the Department of Transportation report on November 29, the runway repairs were scheduled to be finished by December 8. Due to the unexpected discovery of spalling on primary Runway 8L last week, the Hawaii DOT (HDOT) announced the immediate diversion of all aircraft arriving and departing at Honolulu International Airport (HNL).

Runway 26L is the new route for the affected flights. The runway restriction was only supposed to last until December 8, but as per the report, we suspect the government will extend the repair work beyond the estimated date.

The other three runways at HNL will continue to operate, as HDOT has mentioned, although their capacity has been decreased during peak hours, and DOT has advised travelers to prepare for possible flight delays. 

The department has been actively working with interisland carriers and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to minimize any potential flight schedule delays resulting from this circumstance.

The runway was completely reconstructed, including the 7,500 linear feet of polymer-modified asphalt and a 1,000 linear foot section of Portland Cement Concrete installed at the threshold. 

According to Jim Tokioka, the Director of Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), the weather during the runway-building phase that began last fall was the cause of the spalling. 

HDOT revealed that 18 concrete panels in the touchdown area—where the spalling was first noticed—need remediation work. The state will not incur any expenses for the removal and reconstruction of these panels. It is inconsequential that Hawaii wasn't paying for the repairs because federal funds mainly settled the repair.

As per HDOT, removal repairs can continue even in rainy weather, but they should allow additional time for other construction-related tasks like concrete curing.

Airport runway spalling, which refers to the breaking away of the concrete surface, is caused by several things, including chemicals, aging, moisture infiltration (especially when there is insufficient drainage), and the pressure of large loads. Concerns are raised by the spalling's return, particularly in light of the substantial repair completed within the last year, costing nearly 100 million dollars.

Tokioka said that fixing the concrete runway would take a lot longer. He estimated the repair complexity by considering the use of three-foot-thick concrete for the restoration work. 

Tokioka stated he expected it would take one month when asked about a new deadline. Tokioka couldn't say if it would continue longer. 

Follow us to keep up to date on the latest government construction news and related stories.

Back in August we reported how residents in Maui were coming together in the wake of the devastating firestorm that hit Lahaina. In October, also of this year, we reported on state government efforts to boost small and disadvantaged businesses in the state.

Category : Department of Transportation Airports

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