Construction set to begin on primary departure runway at Detroit Metropolitan Airport

News Releases
Mar 28

DETROIT (March 28, 2019) – On April 1, 2019, construction will begin on Detroit Metropolitan Airport’s (DTW) Runway 3L/21R and its associated taxiways. The 8,500-foot primary departure runway is located on the eastern portion of the airfield. The $256 million capital improvement project will be funded with FAA Airport Improvement Program funds and airport revenue bonds.

The construction project is expected to be one of the largest in Michigan for the next two years. This year, Runway 3L/21R and its parallel Taxiway M will be fully reconstructed. In 2020, associated Taxiway P will be reconstructed along with a new connector taxiway. The new airfield pavement will consist of 17 inches of Portland Cement Concrete. In total, construction crews will place the equivalent of 73 highway lane miles of new concrete pavement.

“Runway 3L/21R was the first runway constructed at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in the 1950s,” said Wayne County Airport Authority CEO Chad Newton. “The runway and taxiways have reached the end of their useful life. This reconstruction effort will ensure our pavement meets current FAA standards, and improve the efficiency of our airfield by reducing departure times. Passengers will see the construction, but flights will not be impacted.”

Late last year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the environmental review of the reconstruction project. The analysis showed there are no significant environmental effects or extraordinary circumstances associated with this project.

“We will incorporate environmentally sustainable practices into this project, as we have in the past,” said Deputy Director of Airfield Facilities Theresa Samosiuk, who is also the project manager. “We will be excavating 750,000 cubic yards of soil, as well as recycling the existing concrete. All excess soil and recycled concrete will remain onsite, diverting it from landfills and reducing truck emissions.”

3L/21R is the fourth and final primary runway to be reconstructed in the last ten years. The runway will only be closed for the 2019 construction season. The entire project is scheduled to be complete in November 2020. Ajax Paving Industries, Inc. is the prime contractor.

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) welcomed more than 35 million passengers in 2018 and is one of the world’s leading air transportation hubs.   With service from 14 scheduled passenger airlines, Michigan’s largest airport offers approximately 1,100 flights per day to and from more than 140 nonstop destinations on four continents. With two award-winning passenger terminals, six jet runways, and an onsite AAA Four-Diamond Westin Hotel, DTW is among the world’s most efficient, customer friendly and operationally capable airports in North America.  DTW is operated by the Wayne County Airport Authority, which also operates nearby Willow Run Airport – an important corporate, cargo and general aviation facility.  The Airport Authority is entirely self-sustaining and does not receive tax dollars to support airport operations.   Visit for more information.


For additional information, members of the media may contact:

Erica Donerson – or Lisa Gass –

Media Line – (734) 247-7379

Erica Donerson
Vice President, Communications and External Affairs
Wayne County Airport Authority
Lisa Gass
Media Relations Manager
Wayne County Airport Authority