Best Airport Project: Rural Eureka Airport Runway Is a Visible Improvement
The Eureka Airport serves as a transportation link for remote Eureka County, Nev., by regularly receiving mining executives, providing refueling stops for aircraft passing through, offering support for air operations for local ranches and, perhaps most importantly, serving MedFlight and air attack crews battling local wildfires.
The reconstruction of Runway 18/36, which included a 7,300-ft-long by 60-ft-wide ribbon of asphalt and 73,500 sq ft of apron and taxiways, was put on a 21-day deadline in order to limit the impact on airport users.
To speed operations, pre-demolition and demolition operations took place on one end of the runway as the cement-treated base and paving operations took place on the other. Demolition of existing improvements totaled nearly 100,000 sq ft, cost nearly $150,000 per day and utilized approximately 70 workers during the peak period.
When the 2,800-acre Pinto fire broke out just seven miles from the airport while it was closed for construction, the project team had to make it available to two helicopter crews. Construction was also affected by emergency medevac landings and by contacts with pilots who were unaware the facility was closed.
However, access to materials was perhaps the largest challenge. More than 1,400 tons of cement were trucked 200 miles from Fernley, Nev., and the more than 500,000 gallons of construction water had to be hauled three miles to the site.
Weather concerns for construction crews and the owner were also an issue on the project. While the Eureka Airport, which is at an elevation of 6,500 ft, sees mild summers, it can experience frigid winters, which are detrimental to construction and flight operations. When a late spring snowstorm swept through during construction, work crews had to immediately clear snow and ice accumulations in order for work to progress.
In order to solve the frost issues that limited visibility on the old runway, designers worked with the FAA to use well-draining soils to remove moisture to below the frost line and integrated striated markings at the runway numbers and landing marks to maximize solar heating in the area.
Eureka Airport Runway 18/36 Reconstruction Eureka, Nev.
Contractor Road and Highway Builders LLC, Sparks, Nev.
Owner Eureka County, Eureka, Nev.
Lead Design Lumos & Associates Inc., Carson City, Nev.
Civil Engineer Lumos & Associates Inc., Carson City, Nev.