Miles Of Runway In Mile-High City

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If it seems like everything out west is big, consider Denver International Airport's new runway. Runway 16R/34L was christened by a United Air Lines Boeing 777 last Thursday likely using a fraction of the 16,000 feet of pavement to take off for Chicago. The $166 million runway is the longest commercial runway in North America and is 4,000 feet longer than any of the other five at DEN. Airport planners weren't thinking of Chicago when they envisioned the three-mile-long strip. The runway is aimed at big, heavy jumbo jets, including the future A-380, typically used on long-haul international flights. On a hot summer day, the mile-high airport stretches the takeoff capabilities of such heavily loaded planes. And while other jurisdictions battle over where to put their next runway, DEN officials can relax for quite a few years. There's room for another six runways on the 34,000-acre airport.