Runway expansion project at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport moves forward

Trucks, trains move materials from Medley to project site

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The south runway expansion project at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is moving forward and, on Thursday, project managers invited reporters to see exactly how they are moving nearly seven-million cubic yards of crushed limestone from a quarry in West Dade to the job site. 

At the Cemex Corp. mine in Medley, crews were crushing and loading millions of tons of freshly excavated limestone. This fill is the foundation of what will be the new 8,000 foot landing strip. 

Frank Prieto, with the Cemex Corp, said the project is literally an earth moving event. 

"This is a big one, this is about as big as it gets. Our participation, roughly 3.5 million tons over a very compressed timeframe," Prieto told Local 10's Roger Lohse.

It's enough to fill Marlins Park two and a half times. The bulk of the aggregate material is being trucked to the job site. About 700 dump trucks a day are making the 25 mile trek from Medley to Fort Lauderdale, hauling endless loads of fill that crews are spreading and compacting as they form the runway's base.

But a portion of the material is being delivered by two 80 car trains each day. Project managers say not only do the trains deliver the fill faster, but they also ease the load this project is putting on the community. 

"That equates to 350,000 truckloads that we save from having trucks on the road, added traffic to the community, and carbon emissions to the environment," said Mauricio Gonzalez, a project manager with Odebrecht, the contractor that is building the runway.

The new $791 million runway will stretch west and be built up and over U.S. 1. Traffic on that stretch of the road will eventually travel through tunnels underneath it. 

Right now at the east end, the base is about 19 feet above ground but when they're done, it'll rise 65 feet in the air. 

The south runway will scheduled to be operational in September of 2014. Crews are working around the clock, six days a week, to meet that deadline and with all this limestone, you can say they're literally building it from the ground up.

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