SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Passengers say they're paying the price.
"We had a car parked here and we had a time limit on that so we'll be paying fo rthe next day as well," said Richa Arora of San Francisco who returned home with her exhausted 15-month-old son, sleeping on her husband's shoulder.
Her husband said many people at the airport were upset and frustrated by the delays.
"They were fighting with the airlines. There was so much chaos. People don't know what to do cause they're missing their connecting flights," said Arora's husband, "They could have planned it better cause this is construction right? This is not something technical or something that is not planned."
"We really apologize for the inconvenience," said SFO spokesman Doug Yakel, saying they had to complete the construction during the dry season and when travel volume was lower, "There is never a good time to close a runway. It's outside of the summer travel season and before the holiday travel season begins."
The project involves closing runway 28-L, SFO's second longest runway where it intersects with two shorter runways.
Yakel says normally they repave every 8-10 years, but at this crossing the sub-base layer was beginning to fail, causing pavement cracks and unplanned runway closures.
Officials say there will be a new surface as well as new lighting and drainage to replace previous infrastructure that officials say dates back 40-50 years.
"Although this project is focused on runway 2-8 left the work is actually happening where it intersects with other runways. So at any given portion of this project. There's actually two runways closed at any given time," said Yakel.
Paul Hudson, president of the airline passenger advocacy group FlyersRights.org, says passengers should get protections.
"The FAA has the power under emergency powers to limit the number of flights coming in and out of the San Francisco airport," said Hudson, "I would urge the FAA, the airport authority to have an emergency meeting as soon as tomorrow. And fix this situation, it should not go on."
The construction and runway closures are expected to continue through Sept. 27.
KTVU's Sara Zendehnam contributed to this report.