Work begins on ORIA runway blast screen

| 12/08/2020 | 21 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): Now that the runway at Owen Roberts International Airport has been extended, bringing it closer to the perimeter fence on Old Crewe Road, line work has begun on a blast deflector to protect traffic and pedestrians. This shield, which is part of the upgrades at the airport to improve operations and safety standards, will mitigate air turbulence, officials said.

Over the last few months, with the borders closed and only a few evacuation flights and private jets using the airport, the Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA) has been taking the opportunity to undertake all of the planned works at ORIA.

The blast deflector was required because the runway is now 870 feet longer, which means that aircraft will be taking off much closer to the road. The barrier will “mitigate air turbulence at ground level by deflecting air upwards for departing aircraft to protect passing pedestrians, cyclists and vehicular traffic using the road adjacent to the fence line”, according to a release from the CIAA.

The deflector is made of galvanized steel panels that are powder coated and painted orange and white for easy identification. These panels are mounted on a lightweight steel frame and fastened to a monolithic concrete foundation to prevent uplift.

The blast deflector will extend from the south side of the extended runway and continue around the perimeter fence line. Its assembly and installation is scheduled for completion by the end of August, the release stated.

As part of the ongoing upgrade to the airfield, the new runway and runway extension will be “grooved” to enhance water shedding during heavy rainstorms and increase friction coefficient and safety factor for aircraft landings and departures during extreme wet weather, the CIAA said.

The new runway strengthening with additional layers of asphalt has increased the camber of the runway to a 2% slope to aid water runoff, and the grooves will act as a channel for water to shed more efficiently and decrease the ability to create water pooling on the runway.

“The grooving works will be performed at night to avoid aircraft traffic movements,” officials said, adding that this was also expected to be finished by the end of this month. “The grinding process can be noisy, however, this is unavoidable to add this very important safety feature to the new enhanced runway.”

The CIAA said that once grooving is completed, runway paint markings will be added and enhanced with reflective glass beads to increase visibility. This enhancement will increase safety during night time landings and low visibility weather events. This work is expected be complete by the middle of September.

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Category: development, Local News, Transport

Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why was this monolithic concrete platform built so far below the grade of the runway?

    I guess the quality control inspectors were at home for COVID.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m not a construction engineer, nor do I sit next to a construction engineer. Heck, I don’t even sit next to the person who sits next to a construction engineer. But if at some future date the runway gets extended towards the cricket field, you wouldn’t want a reinforced concrete slab sticking up in the middle of the runway.

      And I’m not a pilot, or sit next to etc., but if for some reason a plane should lose its ability to brake on landing and skids into the screen it might be better to have it pass over the concrete base rather that come to an abrupt halt from hitting it. Those are just my thoughts, but I realize they don’t compare to overabundance of brain power, like yours, that post here on CNS every day.

      • Anonymous says:

        Aren’t you so proud of yourself smart a$$? Who taught you to talk to people like that? Usually people with low self esteem compensate with anonymous comments like yours.

        • Anonymous says:

          And here we are with the dumbest comment of the day. Please leave this to the professionals while you sit at home and make useless comments on engineering that you probably know nothing about. Its called a foundation.

  2. Anonymous says:

    To “Lalaland” – it’s called a “turning bay”. The purpose of which should be obvious – for aircraft to turn and hold at until they can move into take-off position. Quite necessary – if financially feasible, which we will have to accept that it was.

  3. Anonymous says:

    mmm…still don’t know what difference these works will make to the operation of the airport.
    btw….anybody seen the final account for the terminal expansion??

  4. Anonymous says:

    “and painted orange and white for easy identification”

    What, to stop it being confused with a large snowplough?!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Nicely done CIAA and DECCO teams…. good to see the infrastructure improvements and the good utilization of time during the COVID break. Thank you for your continued works!

    • Lalaland says:

      Yes thank you for the round a-bout on the run way. This is lala land. The home to round a-bouts.

      • Anonymous says:

        Round-a-bouts work real well providing all of us drivers learn to use our indicators properly. However that seems to be too much for 80% of our drivers.

  6. Anonymous says:

    So now planes are gonna be even closer to the road when landing. I don’t know about that..

    I thought they were extending the runway into the cricket field? But then they fixed the road there. Whatever they think works I guess 🤷‍♂️

    • Anonymous says:

      No they won’t be any closer when landing. The additional runway length allows heavier planes/loads to take off but building heights west of the runway and public safety do not allow planes to land on the runway any further west than they do now. Same reason they did did not extend the runway to the cricket pitch (well, one of the reasons).

  7. Anonymous says:

    Starting to look like a real airport. Now all we need are people to use it. Open the borders!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Weren’t we going to do all of this last year in Sept/Oct at night and by closing the airport on Tuesdays?

    We are many months in of having total access due to Covid-19 and they still aren’t done.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wait until you see the cost overruns for this…

      I wouldn’t hire government to install a toilet in my house..

      • Over run says:

        The work was done by the private sector. We are the ones who are costing the over run

  9. anon says:

    The blast deflector will also be useful in deflecting our errant motorists from running off the road onto the extended runway.
    I am still waiting for an update from the CIAA on the amount of the over run on the terminal improvements and whether they have finished yet.

  10. Anonymous says:


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