Flaking Surface Shuts Down NV Airport Runway


A runway at Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Nevada was recently shut down due to surface scaling, where a portion of the surface was "flaking off” on the concrete. The issue arrives less than a year after the new $16 million runway reopened.

What Happened

The newly paved runway opened in October 2021. A year later, the runway was reportedly closed, and operations were shifted to the east parallel runway.

Officials confirmed the closure this month, citing the pavement flaking concerns.

“There [are] sections where the surface is flaking away or pieces of the runway are being ejected,” said Cris Jensen, the airport's Chief of Operations and Public Safety.

“We have aircraft that are touching down at 120-150 miles an hour, so we have to have a surface that's really pristine and perfect. We don't want anything that can be ingested into the engines, and so we're concerned about where those flakes are going when they do flake off.”

What’s Next

Jensen told reporters that they are working with contractor Granite Construction and consultants to determine both the cause and the solution. There will reportedly be no extra cost to the airport since the runway is still covered under warranty.

“It's unfortunate that we're having to deal with it, but it's not unheard of and ... when it's all over with, we'll have exactly what we want, which is a safe runway which is going to last us for the expected 20 years,” Jensen said.

Repairs will begin to fix the surface after a cause is determined. According to reports, specialists hope to have a report on the issues by the end of this month.

Officials hope to reopen the runway by July 1. Jensen said there should be no impact on passengers, as pilots will use the 9,000-foot runway until the left one is fixed.

“In the heat of summer, if we get to that point and we haven't completed the repairs, density altitude becomes an issue where our long-haul flights might be impacted a little bit but we're working through that with our airline partners and we're not there yet,” he said.

Reno-Tahoe Airport is also currently undergoing an almost $1 billion expansion, the largest construction project in the airport’s history. The multiphase initiative reportedly involves two new concourses, road work, a remodeled lobby, and a new consolidated rental car facility.

“Two new concourses will not only improve the experience for passengers, but also provide a better atmosphere for airlines, tenants and employees, who are at the heart of what makes this airport so special,” explained the announcement in October.

“They will offer 28 new gates, which are critical to the future of our area, especially given the unique geography of northern Nevada, making the airport a vital transportation hub.”

The project is expected to be completed in 2029.


Tagged categories: Airports; Coating failure; Coating Materials - Commercial; concrete; Concrete repair; Concrete resurfacing systems; Flaking; Maintenance + Renovation; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Paint defects; Program/Project Management; Projects - Commercial; Rehabilitation/Repair

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