Zurich Airport's runway 10/28 to be renovated


27 March 2022 sees the start of repaving work down the centerline of runway 10/28 at Zurich Airport. This refurbishment of the airport's main take-off runway will take place over 70 to 80 nights. Good weather is essential.

When it commenced operation in 1948, runway 10/28 was 1900 metres long, and it was extended to its current length of 2500 metres between 1959 and 1960. Depending on intensity of use, the concrete pavement used in its construction had an expected lifespan of around 30 years. First renewed in 1985, the 30-year-old center section of runway 28 is now approaching the end of its service life and requires repaving for a second time. The same techniques will be used for the planned refurbishment as were used during the renovation of runway 14/32 in 2014. The concrete strip either side of the centerline will be replaced in stages with asphalt pavement at night when no flights are operating. Aircraft must be able to take off and land on the runway as normal during the day.  

Replacing concrete with asphalt pavement

The work to repave the centerline of runway 10/28 will be split into around 70 to 80 night shifts. The original concrete runway will be replaced by pavement consisting of three layers of asphalt, which will be delivered during the preceding day. A special low-temperature, rapid-curing asphalt will be used so the runway is ready for use again as soon as flights resume in the morning.  

Renewal of runway lighting system   

As well as repaving runway 10/28, all the approach, runway and taxiway lighting will be replaced at the same time. This includes switching from halogen lamps to new LED lights incorporating smart connectivity technology. These will be connected via the new Riet and Himmelbach surface power substations and the new underground midfield substation built in 2019-2020.  

Protecting residents from excessive noise   

Various noise abatement measures are being taken to shield local residents from excessive construction noise during the night. For example, the contractors will set up mobile noise barriers during noisy demolition work and no construction machinery will be allowed to drive through residential areas at night. Flughafen Zürich AG will take measurements to monitor noise emissions. In order to begin construction work on time in the evenings, a few aircraft may land on runway 34 instead of 28. No work will be carried out on the nights from Friday to Saturday and from Saturday to Sunday. The work is scheduled for completion in summer 2022.  

Weather challenges   

Dry weather during construction nights is crucial for maintaining the tight schedule. Given good weather conditions, the renovation could be completed before the summer holidays. If the weather is unfavourable on the other hand, the work could last on past the summer break until mid-September.  

Further information about the project.