Find out who ACPA named as recipients of annual ‘Excellence in Concrete Pavements’ awards
When Surianello General Concrete Contractor Inc. began a complete reconstruction project on one of the taxiways, it was immediately apparent the project would require close coordination among the owner, contractor, and subcontractor so that the construction did not interfere with the important missions of the base.
It was particularly important to accommodate fire and emergency response teams. As such, the project required at least one lane to be open at all times. This required the preparatory work to be completed in stages to ensure certain portions of the taxiway were open to base operations at all times. The paving operation also needed to follow this staging pattern, and work needed to be completed quickly, safely, and efficiently. The taxiway was a complete reconstruction involving removal, excavation, new under drain, new subbase, and the installation of new heavily reinforced concrete pavement, 12,000 CY in all.
Project delivery was affected by several delays attributable to permitting issues, weather, and an air show being held at the base. Another factor affecting the schedule was the taxiway’s design, which contained a substantial amount of reinforcing steel. Smooth dowels drilled and anchored into the existing pavement, longitudinal tie bar basket assemblies, transverse dowel bar assemblies, and transverse hinge basket assemblies all affected the schedule ahead of the concrete placement and finishing operations.
Surianello invested significant time to devise a plan to complete the project on schedule. The plan had to address access, including the required non-agitating concrete delivery vehicles and other construction equipment. There was only a short window of opportunity to unload the concrete mixture, and with every movement, coordination with the base security forces was required to ensure deliveries were not slowed by time-consuming inspections.
Complicating this was heavy traffic at the base entrance during paving operations, but special provisions allowed the teams to meet the required discharge times.
Completing the project required constant communications. Surianello’s paving schedule was communicated to base security and operation forces well in advance, and base personnel then sent out notifications to all the divisions to ensure people were informed of the schedule and potential impacts. When construction operations were in proximity to the active runway, constant communications needed to be maintained with the air traffic controller in the tower. Traffic on the taxiway was restricted to base personnel, as well as Surianello’s construction equipment, support vehicles, and personnel. (On the grade, daily toolbox discussions also helped keep construction personnel well informed of safety and security requirements.) All in all, the aim were to maintain a safe and efficient work zone, while keeping one side of the taxiway open at all times. This allowed the base’s emergency responders complete access to the taxiway and the runway for daily training exercises, as well as in the event of actual emergencies.
Keeping one side open proved to be a difficult task, particularly because of the cure times required on the grade. Surianello’s team demonstrated their responsiveness as the open lane changed locations many times when cure strengths were achieved and traffic could be moved to allow other paving and repair operations.
Looking back at the construction of the original taxiway, it was completed during the 1950’s (using fixed-form paving), and the pavement since experienced joint failure. The specifications called for the new pavement to match the existing pavement, but it was soon determined and reported to the base engineers that matching the existing pavement would not produce the desired surface characteristics.
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