taxiway reopens to aircraft
By A.B. Snedeker
Hartsfield-Jackson’s new international terminal
is one step closer to reality after the mid-December reopening of
an important taxiway to aircraft traffic.
In September 2008, Taxiway D closed so that the Airport’s automated
people mover (APM) system could be extended from Concourse E to the
Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal, which is under construction.
“Taxiway D is a vital connector between Hartsfield-Jackson’s
north and south airfields,” said Aviation General Manager Ben
DeCosta. “We made a commitment to get this work done and reopen
the taxiway in time for the holidays and before the deicing season.
I’m pleased that we have kept this promise and that we have
achieved this milestone in the construction of the international terminal.”
The taxiway was torn up, and a 60-foot-deep trench was dug. Crews
built a concrete box tunnel about 900 feet long between Concourse
E and the international terminal construction site. Once the tunnel
was complete, the trench was back-filled, and crews built a concrete
taxiway — 20 inches thick and about 1,000 feet long.
The tunnel will house the APM tracks and pedestrian walkway from Concourse
E to the new international terminal. When it opens, the 1.2 million-square-foot
Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal will have 12 gates.
With the APM connection to the 28 gates at Concourse E, the Airport
will have a 40-gate international air travel complex.
“The Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal will be state-of-the-art,”
DeCosta said. “It is being built for a sustainable future and
will be LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] certified
at the silver level when it is complete.”
When Taxiway D was closed, aircraft had to move from north to south
through the ramp area between the concourses, which required lower
speeds. Taxiway D, a designated aircraft-movement area, provides quick,
efficient aircraft access between the north and south airfields. The
reopened taxiway also provides easy access to aircraft deicing areas
east of Concourse E.
Taxiway D, which connects
the Airport’s north and south airfields, reopened in
mid-December, marking another milestone in the construction
of the international terminal. The taxiway closed in September
2008 to accommodate construction.