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Aerial view of runways at Crystal Airport

Crystal Airport Runway Reconstruction


Crystal Airport is a general aviation airport serving recreational and business users – think propeller-driven airplanes with fewer than 10 passenger seats. Its location just northwest of Minneapolis makes it the closest airport to downtown Minneapolis and a reliever airport for the large Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport.  

As an important airport in the reliever system, Crystal Airport needed to remain in use, even when major reconstruction to improve airport safety would impact the entire airfield.


Metropolitan Airports Commission selected SEH to lead this reconstruction project, in which improving user safety was the primary goal. To improve airfield safety, the SEH team's reconstruction work included revising geometry to minimize runway incursion hotspots as part of the Runway Incursion Mitigation program, upgrading electrical to improve airfield safety and navigation, and removing trees obstructing the primary runway.

A complex phasing plan made it possible for the airport to remain in use throughout construction. Constant communication with air traffic control and airport operations was key to ensuring safety and minimizing impacts to airport operations as much as possible. The phasing plan laid out a schedule for each phase with the goal of always having available pavement, runway and taxiway for aircrafts to use throughout construction – even as a runway was removed and converted into a taxiway. 


  • 2022 Engineering Excellence Honor Award | American Council of Engineering Companies, Minnesota Chapter (ACEC-MN)
  • 2020 Merit Awards for Bituminous Surfacing | Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and Minnesota Asphalt Pavement Association (MAPA)

Crystal Airport Runway Reconstruction

Cities of Crystal, Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center, Minnesota

Metropolitan Airports Commission


  • Safety measures minimized runway incursion hotspots, eliminated a parallel runway, and improved signage and electrical
  • Construction schedule phasing ensured available pavement, runway and taxiway
  • Converted existing runway 14R/32L into a full-length parallel taxiway
  • 2 in. bituminous mill and overlay of primary runway 14/32
  • 4 new paved run-up pad areas adjacent to new taxiway
  • Multiple taxiway connector relocations
  • New south service roadway construction
  • New runway and taxiway electrical improvements
  • New runway navigation aids
  • Construction of a new airfield electrical vault building
  • Strategic coordination among multiple agencies


  • Airport design
  • Civil engineering
  • Survey
  • Community involvement
  • Construction management