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St. John’s airport airfield accessibility improvements

The project’s primary objective is to increase airport usability from 93.8% to 98.9%. Planning, Design, Contract Administration and Construction Inspection services of various new and life cycle airport infrastructure elements were provided including a CAT III Instrument Landing System and Runway 11-29 Pavement, Drainage and Electrical Rehabilitation.


Client: St. John’s International Airport Authority (SJIAA)

Our client’s challenge

Reducing the number of delayed/cancelled flights from and to St. John’s, Newfoundland was identified as a priority by SJIAA. WSP assisted SJIAA to plan, design, construct and commission infrastructure required to support Reduced and Low Visibility Operations and a CAT III Instrument Landing System on both Runway’s 11 and 29. During the planning and design phases additional life cycle and new regulatory compliance infrastructure elements were also identified and added to the project.

Due to high cross wind components and the existing runway configuration minimizing airport operational impact was identified as a challenge early on with work in the intersection of Runways 11-29 and 16-34 presenting the greatest challenge.  Consideration was given to finding a balance between minimizing airport operational impacts while also maintaining cost effective construction. 

Our approach

In an effort to minimize airport operational impact the project was phased over 3 years, 2 contracts and involved the following primary components:

  • Installation of Inset Light Taxiway Lighting;
  • Installation of new LED ALSF-2 Approach Lighting Runways 11 and 29;
  • Runway 11-29 Graded Area Improvements;
  • Construction of RESA’s 11, 29, 16 and 34;
  • Pavement, Drainage and Electrical Rehabilitation of Runway 11-29, Taxi Bravo and Runway 02-20 (partial);
  • Apron I East Expansion including New Inset Light Taxilane;
  • Installation of Inset Light Stop Bars;
  • Construction of Turn Pads and Blast Pads Thresholds 11 and 29.

Competitive bidding was encouraged through inclusion of Contractor reimbursement provisions when construction operations were suspended due to airport operations.  The Plan of Construction Operations (PCO) was structured to allow the Contractor to work in certain areas based on weather criteria while other areas were available during only specific pre-determined dates and times in an effort to provide flexibility.

Extensive stakeholder consultation was carried out in the planning phase and during construction daily work plans were prepared and distributed through Contractor, Consultant and SJIAA collaboration.


The project is entering its third and final year with completion scheduled for December 2015.  SJIAA has received positive feedback from stakeholders with regard to project communication.

WSP continues to work closely with SJIAA and to assist in various other ongoing initiatives and capital projects. 

Runway 29 Category II/III Approach Lights at St. John’s International Airport