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Johnson, A., Trivedi, D., Hanegan, K., & Yu, R. (2018). PROTECTING THE SHORELINE OF THE SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT FROM SEA LEVEL RISE. Coastal Engineering Proceedings, 1(36), risk.42.


The San Francisco International Airport (SFIA) has approximately eight miles of shoreline along San Francisco Bay. It was built on a series of land reclamations constructed between 1927 and 1972. Primary consolidation and secondary settlement are still ongoing and expected to continue for 10 to 30 more years (M&N 2015). Figure 1 - SFIA Shoreline and Runways The length of shoreline makes SFIA susceptible to flooding. The flood risk is expected to increase with ongoing settlement and future sea level rise (SLR). A system of seawalls has been constructed along the perimeter to protect the airport from flooding. The shoreline along SFIA includes the end of Runway 1-19 and Runway 10-28, shown in Figure 1. Because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that the end of runways be object-free areas (OFA), which prohibit seawalls from encroaching into the airspace and limits the allowable elevation, protection against future sea level rise (SLR) must be achieved without raising the seawalls. With SLR projections in San Francisco Bay of 1 foot by 2050 and 3 feet by 2100 (NRC 2012), SFIA decided to investigate alternative forms of flood protection at the end of the runways. Presented here is a feasibility study of alternative solutions.


Moffatt & Nichol (2015): San Francisco International Airport Shoreline Protection Feasibility Study- Evaluation and Recommendations Report.

National Research Council Committee on Sea Level Rise in California, Oregon, and Washington (2012): Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington: Past, Present, and Future.

Pullen, T., Allsop, N.W.H., Bruce, T., Kortenhaus, A., Schuttrumpf, H., & van der Meer, J.W. (2007). EurOtop - Wave Overtopping of Sea Defences and Related Structures: Assessment Manual. Die Kuste, 73, 193.

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