Sacramento International Airport Runway 16R-34L Pavement Rehabilitation
Best Project

Owner: Sacramento County Construction Management and Inspection Division
Lead Design Firm: AECOM
General Contractor: Granite Construction Co.
Subcontractors: Centerline Striping Co.; Curry Group Inc.; Lean Engineering; MVE Inc.; Q&D Construction; Studebaker Brown Electric Inc.; Twining Group Inc.

With only two runways at a growing international airport in Sacramento, the project team improved efficiency and dependability by designing a pavement structure that will last at least 30 years. Along with the compressed 6.5-month schedule to demolish and reconstruct the existing runway and its supporting electrical systems, the team had to address a number of unforeseen conditions. One conduit was found to contain asbestos cement, while another planned for reuse had partially collapsed. A special cement treatment mix was quickly developed to mitigate large areas of unsuitable subgrade material.

To help expedite new runway construction, the team built an on-site portable concrete batch plant that produced the lean concrete base, plus a temporary accredited quality-control facility and a state-of-the-art concrete specimen curing facility. Using three-dimensional stringless technology, the project team’s concrete-paving equipment produced finish grades with a maximum deviation of 0.02 ft from design specifications and an average smoothness profile index rating of 1.7 in. per mile, compared with the allowable 7 in. per mile.

A host of sustainability measures minimized the project’s environmental footprint, including diversion of 115,000 cu yd of demolished and excavated materials from landfills. Existing aggregate base rock was incorporated into the lean concrete base mix, while asphalt was crushed and used for subgrade stabilization. An industrial slurry press allowed continual reuse of 750,000 gallons of slurry water from saw-cut grooving operations, with all solids recycled into the aggregate base.

The new runway design also addresses a long-standing problem with groundwater infiltration into the runways’ aggregate base layers, a result of the airport’s close proximity to the Sacramento River. A new sub-drainage system located along the new runway shoulders minimizes the effects of groundwater fluctuation, which can compromise structural integrity. Linked to the airfield’s existing storm drain network, the new system will enhance runway durability and reduce long-term maintenance needs.

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