Timing is Everything: How RDU is using phased construction to fix an aging taxiway
When an airport has flights coming in practically around the clock, how do you solve the problem of fixing aging and failing pavement that needs to be demolished and replaced with fresh pavement ready for aircraft? It’s all in the timing.
The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority identified the need to rehabilitate portions of Taxiway F outside of Terminal 2 based on the results of a pavement assessment completed in 2015. In addition to the pavement rehabilitation, the project also includes reconstruction of existing paved shoulders, construction of new paved shoulders where none exist, subsurface drainage improvements, and new pavement markings within the project limits.
But obviously you can’t shut down an airport for several months to fix aging and failing pavement – you must have a plan that includes phasing construction. For the Taxiway F project, phasing was developed with input from several stakeholders including RDU facilities, RDU operations, air traffic control, terminal 2 ramp control, airlines, and tenants. The phasing plan was developed to minimize impacts to airport operations to the greatest extent possible, while also balancing project cost and overall project duration.
The project is divided into nine phases; Phases 1-5 are for the south end of the taxiway and Phases 6-9 are for the north end. Additionally, Phase 1 is comprised of four subphases to coordinate gates closures (which are limited to three gate closures at any given time). Each phase consists of demolition of the pavement, excavation of the subgrade to make room for new pavement, recycling the old concrete pavement for use as a crushed aggregate subgrade layer, which will improve drainage, placement of a stabilized base, final paving, curing of the pavement, final pavement marking, and electrical work for the airfield lighting.
Construction of the project is currently underway and expected to be complete in the fall of 2018. Once complete, the taxiway will be good to go for several decades.
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