Airport Runway Project in Kansas City Paves the Way for Smoother Landings Airports depend on safe facilities and operations to help deliver convenient and efficient services for passengers, cargo and other critical components in the air transportation business. But with things like pebbles, potholes and other pavement problems standing in the way — foreign object debris (FOD) damage estimates are estimated to be $4 billion a year — airport owners have found themselves facing challenges as their facilities age.

For officials at Kansas City International Airport (MCI), that meant embarking on a major runway rehabilitation program. Here’s a look at how our aviation team completed the upgrades, while keeping operational disruptions to a minimum.

The Backstory

The Kansas City Aviation Department (KCAD) hired Burns & McDonnell in 2013 to design the Rehabilitation of Runway 1R-19L. Spalling associated with durability cracking (D-Cracking) in the existing Portland cement concrete, or PCC, had been getting progressively worse, and a petrographic analysis had ruled out the possibility of alkali-silica reaction (ASR) — a reaction that can occur over time causing extensive expansion and cracking in concrete.

Preliminary studies determined that the base course was in excellent condition, allowing us to remove the top 17-plus inches of PCC, and replace it with a new PCC surface. The work was split into two construction packages — one in 2015 and the other in 2016 — so that the airport could maintain winter use of both parallel runways for operations.

The Solution

First up was the runway pavement north of the intersection with Runway 9-27. Studies showed that existing limestone aggregate on site was inadequate for the job. Working with representatives from a number of agencies — the FAA, KCAD, Kansas City Metro Materials Board (KCMMB), American Concrete Pavement Assn. (ACPA) and local public works directors — we reached an agreement on a modified Portland cement concrete FAA specification (P-501). The goal: Reduce the potential for further PCC distress related to poor materials. The final design included new in-pavement and runway edge lighting, new striping and full-depth removal of Taxiway E-3, from Runway 1R-19L to Taxiway E.

Next came the remainder of the runway, including the intersection with Runway 9-27. This package included in-pavement and runway/taxiway edge lighting design, new stormwater drainage evaluation and design, and new airfield pavement marking. Among major differences from the first package:

  • Relocating Taxiway E-6 — located too close to the Runway Safety Area for Runway 9-27, according to the FAA — to the south. That meant providing complete pavement design, including use of lime-stabilized subgrade, 6 inches of FAA P-209 Crushed Aggregate, 6 inches of P-306 Econocrete Base Course and 17 inches of P-501 concrete. The design also included geometry complying with new AC requirements, plus new pavement underdrains, airfield lighting and installation of taxiway centerline cans for future use.
  • Including a complex Construction Safety and Phasing Plan (CSPP) that addressed issues raised by replacement of the intersection of Runway 1R-19L and Runway 9-27.

The video below, captured using a camera-mounted drone, shows several sections of the combined project, including the completed north portion of Runway 1R-19L; batch plant operations; and paving of the intersection of Runways 1R-19L and 9-27.

With the project now complete, flights landing at MCI are enjoying smoother, safer landings. For a more in-depth look at this project check out the article I wrote for Airport Magazine last year.

Jason Fuehne, PE, is a project manager at Burns & McDonnell, where he designs pavement and drainage systems for runways and taxiways, and plans pavement management and maintenance programs for airports.

{ 0 comments }

How Much Physical Security Is Enough for Your Data Center?

by Brandon Kehl March 13, 2017

Data is a precious commodity. It’s the backbone of modern society, a foundation of the business world, and the repository of our personal and professional documentation — from texts and email to photos and videos. Data centers have become a necessary part of the nation’s infrastructure. As with the electrical grid and water systems, they […]

Read the full article →

Burns & McDonnell Named 16th Best Company to Work For in the U.S.

by Ray Kowalik March 9, 2017

What could be sweeter than waking up and realizing you’re one day closer to the weekend? Waking up and hearing that Burns & McDonnell has once again landed a spot on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list — coming in at No. 16 in 2017! After surveying more than 230,000 employees from firms […]

Read the full article →

A Systematic Approach to Planning for Power Plant Upgrades

by Bryan Durant March 7, 2017

The reasons for undertaking power plant upgrades and improvement projects are plentiful — adopting new technology, efficiency and output enhancements, operational updates, and easier maintenance are just a few. No matter your objective, it can be challenging to accurately map out the considerations that go into successfully upgrading your plant. Even more challenging is accurately […]

Read the full article →

How a Roundabout Solves Traffic Challenges in Kane County, Illinois

by Matt Papirnik February 27, 2017

Although roundabouts have been increasingly common in the U.S. since the 1990s, Illinois has lagged behind its neighbors in implementing this proven concept. But now that’s changing — in part due to a project designed by Burns & McDonnell. A new roundabout at the Kane County intersection of Burlington Road and Illinois Route 47 opened […]

Read the full article →