SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A large pothole at a busy intersection of two runways at San Francisco International Airport has been repaired Thursday after triggering lengthy delays while work crews raced to fix it.
Airport spokesman Doug Yakel confirmed at around 2:15 p.m. that both runways had reopened. He said SFO still expected some residual delays over the next few hours due to the earlier closure.
Yakel earlier confirmed that runway R1 reopened at around noon, while runway 28L had to remain closed for more than two additional hours as repairs were completed.
“We’re going to be laying a new section of asphalt in the area,’ he said. “That does require time to cure.”
Officials said a work crew doing its regular pre-dawn runway inspection found the 12-inch pavement depression.
“It’s a very heavily-trafficked area of our airport, this intersection,” Yakel said. “More than 2/3 of all the aircraft that operate at SFO actually use that intersection.”
Since 28L is used for arrivals and R1 for departures, delays began at 25 minutes and grew through the morning. Among those caught up in the delays was Kelly Leung, who was headed to Southern California for Coachella music festival.
“[I got an] 8 a.m. got a text, tried to rebook another flight and that took another hour and a half, because everyone’s rebooking,” she said. “I finally got mine…I got it rescheduled to 10 and now it’s being delayed to 11:45, so not too bad.”
When asked to characterize the delays and cancellations, Yakel compared it to a bad weather day.
Thursday’s work is merely a Band-Aid. The real work on Runway 28L will begin in September, where it won’t just be the surface asphalt getting repaired. The current concrete base is several decades old. In September, a 1,900-foot section of the 10,500 foot-long runway will be completely ripped up.
“For the September plan, we’re planning a 20-day closure of runway 28 Left,” Yakel told KPIX 5.