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San Francisco International Airport

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff was contracted to provide construction management support services to the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) for its Runway Safety Area (RSA) Improvement Program, which is part of a federal mandate to bring all commercial RSAs up to current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety standards.


The RSA Improvement Program involved enhancements to be made to runways in order to comply with Public Law 109-115. This requires airport sponsors to transform runways to FAA airport design standards by no later than December 31, 2015.

Since SFO is one of the 10 busiest airports in the U.S., the RSA planned improvements had to be completed with minimal impact to airport operations while maintaining safe conditions for aircraft operations. SFO required phase 2 project completion within a tight 100-day schedule while maintaining the highest level of quality and safety standards throughout construction.

Runway reopening at the San Francisco International Airport


As prime consultant, we augmented SFO staff and supported them in the performance of the RSA enhancements to meet the critical 2014 deadline set forth in the SFO Master Plan. We implemented a successful risk management approach, anticipating and mitigating risks throughout the contract term.

We provided construction management and coordination of concurrent projects: Phase I (Runways 10-28s) and Phase II (Runway 1-19s); and design management assistance for Phase II (Runways 1-19s). We also provided coordination with the FAA, project controls and scheduling, and the labor, equipment, material and construction management support services required to assist airport staff with navigational aid (NAVAID) design.

The nature of this project made it vital to work closely with the client, fostering a cohesive delivery team. To ensure maximum collaboration and communication, the entire team co-located in trailers just southwest of the airfield. Faced with a tight deadline and shaken in the aftermath of the Asiana airplane crash in July 2013, the team worked actively to complete phase 2 of the RSA project.

Airline delays were minimized through the use of a departure meter system (DMS)[UW1] .  We assisted SFO in the procurement process for the DMS and also in its implementation. The system facilitated plane departures, managing sudden changes in the schedule, minimizing wait time in the taxiway queue, and reducing fuel burning before take-off.


We successfully completed the RSA improvements, finishing Phase 1 in 2013 and Phase 2 in the fall of 2014 - well before FAA's mandated completion date.

The project not only met but surpassed all construction goals in terms of schedule, cost, and quality. It was delivered 32 days early, US$12 million under-budget, and with no lost-time accidents or injuries.

The approach taken for this project earned us the 2015 Diamond Level Partnered Project of the Year by International Partnering Institute (IPI).


  • FAA coordination
  • Project scheduling
  • Project controls and reporting
  • Quality material and construction
  • FAA NAVAID construction support
  • FAA mandated quality verification
  • Construction management and coordination of concurrent projects (Phase 1 (R/WS 10-28s) and Phase 2 (R/W 119s)
  • Design Management Assistance for Phase 2, Runways 1-19s
  • Labor