The Ottawa Airport has just wrapped up a massive $30-million reconstruction project.

And, with any luck, passengers will never notice.

Over the past four months work crews completely tore up and rebuilt the airport’s 10-thousand foot long runway. It features new sewers, new lighting, and required 85-thousand tonnes of asphalt and 10-thousand gallons of paint.

 It was the third and final phase of the airport’s runway reconstruction project.

“This is a big deal,” says Airport spokesperson Krista Kealey. “The last time this runway was completely reconstructed was in the 80’s.”

It’s a big enough deal that members of the construction team lined the runway to watch the first plane touch down. “It’s quite the feat,” says the Project Manager for Tomlinson Group, Luc De Champlain. “Just to be able to say that we were part of this job. It’s a big achievement.”

Improvements to the runway include a change in the way it’s graded to prevent water from pooling and freezing. And on each end are new 300-metre-long Runway End Safety Areas, or RESA, that are the first in Canada that meet international standards set by ICAO and FAA. “These areas are in the event that a plane lands long, for example, and needs extra space to come to a stop,” says Kealey.

It has happened. A United Express plane slid off the runway in Ottawa three years ago.

But, for most passengers, all they will experience is a smooth landing. And after today it just got a lot smoother.