Tomorrow will be a busy day for Mary Peters. The US transportation secretary plans to visit three airports in three time zones as new runways open at Washington Dulles International, Chicago O' Hare International and Seattle-Tacoma International airports.
That sounds exhausting. Thankfully, I only have to make it to one ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Dulles will open its first new runway since the airport opened in 1962. The fourth runway will be used for domestic and international operations. It is 9,400-ft and is the airport's third north-south runway.
O'Hare will open its first new runway since 1971. Before paving could begin, more than 3.1 million cubic yards of earth had to be moved and 126 acres of land in Des Plaines, Illinois, had to be cleared.
Made of nearly 270,000 tons of asphalt, the new domestic runway will open on the northern-most boundary at Chicago O'Hare. The east-west runway is 7,500-ft.
On the west coast, Sea-Tac's third runway will open at 8,500-ft runway, making it the shortest at the airport.
Airport operator the Port of Seattle purchased about 500 properties, including about 400 single-family homes, for the project.
Designed to last 40 years, the runway required 130,000 cubic yards of concrete and 35,000 tons of asphalt for the runway shoulders. More than 16 million cubic yards of dirt was moved during construction.
"If you took all the trucks that carried that dirt they would go from here [Seatte] to Miami and back," Sea-Tac spokesman Perry Cooper says.