Two SFO runways closed and repaired, travelers impacted through weekend

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Some San Francisco International Airport travelers who booked flights expecting to reach their destinations on Thursday may not arrive until the weekend. This, after two runways were closed, causing residual delays that continue impacting flyers.

Airport officials say the problem was discovered Thursday morning, during routine runway inspections. Crews spotted a foot-wide depression, four inches deep, at the heavily traveled intersection of runway 28-Left and 1-Right.

“Our normal process when we find something like this is to close the runway and make immediate repairs. And that’s what we’re doing,” said SFO Public Information Officer Doug Yakel.

With two runways closed, a cascade of delays and flight cancelations. Javier Balieiro and five co-workers came from Chile for the Google conference. Their flight delay means they won’t get back home until Saturday – after a revised connection through New York City. 

“What we can do? Besides working and waiting?...Our wife and children are waiting, so, that’s a bummer,” said Balieiro.

The affected runway is already scheduled for a major repaving project this fall. Airport officials say passengers should try to get departures before 9 a.m. to minimize their delays. Airport officials say 28-Left is the second longest runway, and will get a new base layer along with improved lighting and drainage infrastructure. The project will last for most of the month of September.

Crews repaired Thursday’s pot hole, and by early afternoon both runways were reopened. But residual delays still have many flyers waiting for take-off, so that their getaways can get back on track.

“If there’s no more holes,” said Teresa St. Goar, traveling to Palm Springs with her sister.