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Runway 27L Extension at Philadelphia International Airport

Urban partnered with PHL to develop three bid/construction packages for Runway 27L, allowing for partial project construction to proceed while other items were still in design.

Services Provided
Construction Services
City of Philadelphia, Division of Aviation
Project Contact
Chris Gubeno, PE
Vice President, Market Leader for Aviation

The City of Philadelphia opened the 1,500-foot extension of Runway 27L at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) in 2018, bringing its total length to 12,000 feet. This extension increased capacity and improved safety for travelers at the airport. In addition to the runway extension, this $120 million project also involves queuing bays - resulting in 10,300 feet of new taxiway - and delivers a host of benefits such as increased circulation alternatives and greater stacking. These upgrades enable new generation aircraft to fly to the Pacific Rim without load restrictions. Urban's team formed a partnership with the City to manage 10 design consultants/investigators involved with this major project in PHL's master plan. The final construction packaged for this expansion will be complete in 2019.


Runway 27L Extension at Phl construction

Airport operations continued during construction

Runway 27L Extension at Phl construction2

A new queing bay takes shape for aircraft storage


Paving begins for the runway (12,000 feet)

Careful project phasing enabled use of the existing runway and taxiway network during construction of the runway extension. We met with the client and Program Manager early in the project to suggest improved package division for more efficient project implementation. Our team then helped PHL develop three bid/construction packages for this project to expedite implementation and allow partial project construction to proceed while other items were still in design. Urban completed drastic changes to the scopes of Packages 2 and 3 mid-design, without schedule impacts, and delivered each bid package on schedule.

New LED centerline lighting, including SMGS routing, was installed on all new taxiways and the runway. New guidance signs for taxiways, distance remaining signs, and other signage updates were also completed. Electrical improvements included reconfiguration of Field Lighting Vault 3 to rationalize operation and accommodate additional equipment. Additionally, significant utility expansion was required. To control infield ponding, Urban designed an expanded storm drainage network and large box culvert emptying to the south ponding ditch. Plans were prepared to relocate fuel delivery piping, using non-invasive micro-tunneling under Runway 27R and Taxiways K and S to reduce impacts to airport operations. A system of electrical handholes and linking ductbanks was installed in a grid pattern throughout the project area to provide flexibility to feed the various new taxiways and runway extension.



Taxiway S in use after project completion


Completed Taxiway S1 open for business at the 27L threshold

completed runway 27l extension

Completed runway extension

Other improvements included:

  • 10,300 feet of new taxiways and holding bays
  • Rehabilitation of Taxiway S with new concrete paving to prevent rutting
  • Runway Incursion Mitigation improvements where Taxiway S meets Runway 35
  • Replacement of NAVAIDs, including Glide Slope antenna, MALSR approach lights, and 4-box PAPI
  • Extension of the ductbank network for power and communication systems
  • Upgrade of Airfield Lighting Vault 3
  • Relocation of the Glide Slope generator building with propane fuel system
  • Relocation and construction of perimeter service road around the runway extension
  • Relocation of the airport’s fuel delivery pipes
  • Stabilization of compressible underlying soils to limit settlement
  • Environmental permitting


During construction, we worked closely with the Construction Manager (CM) to adapt to field conditions and respond quickly with document changes. This was key to maintaining the construction schedule. Our staff attended weekly construction progress meetings, which allowed us to offer input face-to-face and interact more effectively with the CM and the contractors. This interaction was essential to helping the CM resolve construction issues, such as failure of fuel pipe supports designed by the contractor and separation of electrical conduits within the fuel line casing pipe.

Get in Touch
Vice President, Market Leader for Aviation 215.922.8081