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Traveler's Alert: SFO projects could delay departures this summer

San Francisco International Airport officials are gearing up for the upcoming four-month closure of two runways to work on federally mandated safety upgrades that will help stop a plane if it overshoots a landing.

Dual runways 1L and 1R will close on May 17 and reopen in September after the runway safety improvements are completed.

The improvements came after the Federal Aviation Administration surveyed airports across the country and determined more than 40 airports needed enhancements to keep up with runway safety standards.

The project includes the construction of new zones at the end of the runway with energy-absorbing materials that can catch an aircraft's landing gear if a plane overshoots the airstrip.

The FAA is overseeing the safety project and set a deadline for the end of 2015 for its completion. SFO is aiming to finish about a year ahead of that date.

The runway closures this summer are the final phase of construction at SFO that began in 2008. Improvements were already made to another set of dual runways, 28L and 28R.

The improvements are federally funded and cost about $214 million, according to airport officials.

During the closure, minor delays are expected and are anticipated to be similar to those during inclement weather, according to airport officials. The airport will have its other set of runways open and operating.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

— Bay City News Service

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