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MIA’s Big “X” Catching The Eye Of Drivers & Fliers

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MIAMI (CBSMiam) – If you have driven past or flown out of Miami International Airport, you’ve seen a new “X” on one of the runways.

It’s been catching the eye of thousands of drivers on the 836 Dolphin Expressway and thousands of passengers looking out the windows of jumbo jets at the airport.

The giant “X” that marks the spot of something that hasn’t happened in about 20 years: a runway re-do.

Ernesto Beltre is the Project Manager, overseeing a 528 day, $46-million dollar project to rehabilitate 12-30, one of the most important runways at the airport.

“We’re milling an inch off the entire runway and resurfacing with three inches of asphalt, to make sure the flying public is landing on the most technologically advanced runway,” said Beltre.

He went on the say the project has created jobs for hundreds of local workers.

“The project designer is from here, along with the contractor, and the final inspectors,” added Beltre.

The project to rehab 12-30 and three adjacent taxiways started back in January, and the “Big X” is expected to be in place until early July, when the runway will be reopened for use.

The improvements will make things safer for people who fly, by making it easier for the crew in the cockpit to safely navigate the ramps thanks to new LED runway lights.

“We’ll have runway guard lights at all of our connectors,” said Beltre.  “This will keep the pilots from making a mistake and crossing an active runway.  They will identify the crossings to pilots that are coming to them so there won’t be any guessing.”

MIA Airside Director Lonny Craven says they’re also digging about a 9,500 feet long trench down the center of the runway to lessen problems from lightning strikes.

“They’re excavating all of the conduit here because lightning strikes the conduit,” Craven said.

Lightning strikes can take out chunks of the runway, and crumbling potholes could result in a major safety risk as loaded jumbo jets rumble down the runway.

“Now, we will have grounding systems with ground rods.  This will dissipate lighting and we won’t have issues of the past,” said Beltre.

Assistant Airport Director Carlos Jose says the project include new surfacing and grooving for rainwater drainage to prevent hydroplaning on landing or take-offs.

“Life safety is the utmost importance to this airport, he said.  “This project is making sure we have the latest technology out there available for the safety of our passengers,” said Jose.

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