Minimizing construction costs for Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and reducing disruption to passengers, The abbreviated runway replacement schedule translated directly into cost savings for the airport’s carriers. And such costs add up quickly. Airport officials estimate that every day a runway is out of service at ATL, it costs airlines $1.5 million in increased fuel costs due to increased queuing and taxiing.
Tim Fredlund, principal/senior project manager with Pond & Company, explains that full-width pavement replacements have become the norm due to airports’ operational reliability needs. “However, as we evaluated the actual conditions (at ATL), we concluded that the keel-section approach would allow for a significant time savings and a significant reduction in construction materials,” Fredlund relates. “Additionally, the city of Atlanta would recognize significant cost savings, reducing the total construction area by 37%, from 150,000 square yards to 95,000 square yards of concrete, including the two high-speed taxiways that needed replacement.”
New Design, Shorter Schedule
Aviation Infrastructure Solutions a joint venture between Pond & Company and Michael Baker International saved additional time and cost by redesigning the various layers of the pavement being replaced. Previously, the section was composed of 16 inches of Portland Cement Concrete on 6 inches of cement treated base and 6 inches of soil cement. By converting the pavement to 20 inches of Portland Cement Concrete on 2 inches of an asphalt leveling base (after milling the base material to allow for the added depth), the design team was able to offer the same level of structural support but reduce the time required to replace the runway. With the new design set, the design team established an aggressive 29-day construction schedule to meet ATL’s operational needs.
Another innovative project strategy was the use of a two-step paving train that allowed crews to insert reinforcements between the two layers of concrete. Welded wire reinforcement were used to strengthen the 25-by-50 foot panels designers specified to match the dimensions of panels used when the runway was built in 1984. Although 25-by-25-foot panels are now standard at ATL, the reinforcements elevated the longer panels to the current square panels’ performance level.
Additional design partners included Corporate Environmental Risk Management, Key Engineering, and Long Engineering
The project made an appearance in the industry publication Aviation Improvement Magazine. This issue featured the pavement design done on the 8L-26R Runway Pavement Replacement project at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
“Executives at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) recently became official fans of “not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” By replacing the workhorse center strip of Runway 8L-26R and leaving its seldom-used outer edges undisturbed, the bustling hub not only saved time and money on construction, it also minimized operational disruptions and related costs for ATL’s carriers.
Last fall, crews replaced the center strip of the 9,000-foot Category III arrival runway in 29 days, at an estimated cost of $35 million. In contrast, a 2006 full-width replacement of the the adjacent Runway 8R-26L cost $91 million and took 59 days. (Both projects also included replacing associated taxiways.)
With the recent partial replacement complete, ATL’s baby is, indeed, safe and dry. And with more than 2,500 flights per day and 900,000 aircraft movements per year, the world’s busiest passenger airport can’t have it any other way. Last year, more than 96 million passengers passed through ATL’s terminals, with carriers serving more than 150 U.S. destinations and 60 international cities.”
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