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Denver International Airport Cuts Ribbon on FAA’s Largest Safety Project in the Nation


Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and FAA Funding Made Taxiway and Lighting Project Possible

Dignitaries celebrates DEN's role in the FAA's largest safety project.

DENVER – Sept 26, 2023 – Today, Denver International Airport (DEN) Chief Executive Officer was joined by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Denver Mayor Mike Johnston and representatives from the airport, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and construction crews at a ribboncutting ceremony marking the completion of Taxiway EE, the largest FAA-funded safety project in the nation. The new taxiway marks an important safety and efficiency milestone for DEN.

The leaders also celebrated a $30 million grant from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that is funding much of an important lighting and runway rehabilitation project for Runway 17L-35R currently underway.

The $50.9M taxiway project was fully funded with a grant from the FAA and was completed within budget and minimal impact to aircraft operations. The contractor for the project is Flatiron.

“There’s a lot of technology in the flight deck and in the control tower designed to keep things safe, but sometimes the best technology is concrete—literally. When planes have to cross in front of an active runway to get where they need to go, it creates added risk. That’s why we were proud to provide $50 million to help fund the construction of a new, safer taxiway, and another $30 million for 2,300 upgraded LED lights, so planes can operate safely no matter the weather,” said U.S. Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg.

Taxiway EE eliminates a “Hot Spot” at the intersection of Taxiway M and Taxiway ED on DEN’s airfield. A “Hot Spot” designated by the FAA is a location on an airport movement area with a history or potential risk of collision or runway incursion. “Hot Spots” demand heightened attention by pilots and drivers.

“DEN is committed to providing a safe and efficient airport for all passengers and airlines,” DEN CEO Phil Washington said. “The completion of Taxiway EE is a testament to our dedication to safety and efficiency, and we couldn’t have done it without the support from FAA and our congressional delegation. We are excited to see the positive impact this project will have on our airport and the aviation industry as a whole”.

Specifically, the new taxiway mitigates an issue related to taxiing on the existing Taxiway ED, to and from Runway 17L when approaches are being conducted on Runway 17R. The new Taxiway EE provides unrestricted access to and from Runway 17L-35R. By mitigating the need for aircraft “go-arounds” while on approach to Runway 17R, Taxiway EE provides a different taxi route for Air Traffic Control (ATC). This added option decreases the risk and increases the efficiency and capacity of the entire system by 10%. Now, the DEN ATC Tower can direct aircraft to taxi under the Runway 17R approach surface, towards Runway 17L-35R, for departure without any delay or restriction.

“This new runway and the new lights will make this a safer and more efficient airport for all passengers and airlines. This improvement shows the ongoing success of our efforts make this airport an even larger economic hub, and this project is a significant step forward for DIA,” said Governor Jared Polis.

In addition to Taxiway EE, DEN continues to invest in airfield improvements to maximize safety. The lighting and Runway 17L-35R rehabilitation project is replacing a portion of the deteriorated concrete pavement slabs and performing selective crack sealing, joint seal replacement and spall repair. While this work is underway, DEN is also completing an electrical conversion of the lighting systems to LED including edge lighting, signage, runway guard lights, stop bars and remaining taxiway centerline lighting. This project is also replacing pavement bases, transformers, cables and fixtures and pavement markings. Millstone Weber is the contractor. Construction cost is $41,713,440.13 and will be complete in mid-October 2023

“Taxiway EE provides an additional avenue for safety on DEN’s airfield, but there’s another important factor to this project,” said Mayor Mike Johnston. “It provided meaningful economic opportunities for individuals and small businesses. The project employed more than 400 people in addition to the DEN City employees who worked on the project. More than 80% of the companies that worked on this project are local to Colorado and over 40% are accredited Disadvantaged Small Businesses.”

DEN is committed to a high standard of safety for both passengers and employees through all our operations. The airport continues to study and examine areas within and around the airfield to improve overall efficiency and safety.

Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. For more information visit, check us out on YouTube and Instagram, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign up for DEN’s monthly newsletter Nonstop News.


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Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. Follow us on socials!