FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – It’s an amazing feat of engineering, an enormous construction project that will soon have a brand new runway shooting right over the top of federal highway by Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.

“People are going to be able to drive through tunnels and go under the runway?” asked driver Nick Kerr.  “That’s amazing!”

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This week, construction hit a milestone when workers began laying huge concrete beams over massive walls.  It’s the beginning of an elevated runway.

“This week they started to place the beams on the walls of Federal Highway southbound,” explained Allan Siegel from FLL. “Eventually they’ll pour concrete and that will be the bottom of the runway.”

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Where the old runway once was, the asphalt is all torn up.  Eventually, it will gradually slope up 6 stories high, taking it over federal highway, with traffic running below.

The huge mound on the east side of the project started at ground level and now stands 8 stories high.  Crews are allowing it to settle but eventually will add to it — not up — but out.   That will be the last big fill project, meaning trucks and trains filled with dirt will hauling again.

“The fill requires over 7 million cubic yards of fill,” said Siegel, “which is about enough to fill the Marlin’s Stadium two and a half times.”

The new runway is expected to be open by September of next year.

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There are also more several more projects going on at the airport. Terminals one, two and three are all being renovated.  Terminal 4 is being rebuilt to add more gates.

Ted Scouten