If you glance outside Terminal 2 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, you may notice workers with machines tearing up the concrete.
It’s the first stage of a two-year effort to replace most of the taxiway that planes use to get to and from RDU’s main runway. The $26.5 million project involves digging up 17 inches of concrete and another 23 inches of gravel and replacing them.
The work is hard to miss.
“It’s very loud and very visible,” said airport spokesman Andrew Sawyer. “They’re hammering apart the pavement.”
About 65 percent of the 10,000-foot-long taxiway will be replaced because it has reached the end of its useful life of about 30 years, Sawyer said. The other sections of the taxiway were replaced just before the opening of Terminal 2 in 2011, he said.
The work in front of the terminal will be done in stages that will require closing three gates at a time; there are enough open gates at any one time that passengers won’t be affected, Sawyer said. The ramps, where planes park at the gates, are not being replaced.
The taxiway concrete will be recycled on site. The contractor, Anthony Allega Cement Contractor Inc. of Cleveland, has built a plant on the west side of the airport that will allow it to reprocess the material it removes and use it to make new concrete.
RDU is also replacing the taxiway in front of Terminal 1 on the east side of the airport. That taxiway is made of asphalt, and the replacement work that began last fall had to be suspended because of the cold weather, Sawyer said. It should be finished by the end of the year.