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Airport runway subject of defective construction lawsuit

Construction defects can affect projects of all sizes and types, from residential home building in Minnesota, to much larger projects, like those at major international airports. Recently in the news are reports of problems with one of the runways at Los Angeles International Airport, which was the subject of a reconstruction project that was completed in 2007.

The city has filed a lawsuit against the consortium of contractors that worked on the rebuilding of runway 25 Left. The lawsuit alleged the construction defects due to the deteriorating concrete that has left cracks and exposed rebar. The runway handles up to 500 flights per day. 

The problems with repairing the damage will encompass the rerouting of aircraft at the airport during the reconstruction. The life expectancy for a commercial runway of this type should be 20 to 25 years, so the apparent deterioration after only six years a significant problem for both the airport and the contractor.

The airport and the FAA are monitoring the condition of the runway, and officials for the airport noted the runway poses "no immediate danger." Nonetheless, the potential for chips of concrete to damage planes and cause a deadly crash.

Airplane accidents, like the crash of the Air France Concorde in Paris, can be caused by debris on the runway. Chunks of concrete or rebar thrown into an engine or wing could lead to a catastrophic crash.

One of the contractors involved in the flawed reconstruction has been subject to other lawsuits over defective construction and shoddy workmanship, including work on the San Francisco International Airport, Los Angles subway and in New York.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "$250-million runway at LAX falling apart, lawsuit contends," Dan Weikel, October 17, 2013

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