Palmer Airport Runway 16/34 Rehabilitation

Project Detailsx

Client: City of Palmer

Location: Palmer, AK

Year Completed: 2018


> Planning & Design
> Survey & Mapping
> Environmental Services
> Construction Administration
> Materials Testing & Inspection

Project Overview x

HDL has provided engineering and planning services to the Warren “Bud” Woods Palmer Municipal Airport for more than 20 years. One of the most significant projects HDL has worked on at the airport has been the Runway 16/34 Rehabilitation.

Despite an original 20-year design life, the pavement on the 6,009-foot Runway 16/34 at Palmer Municipal Airport (PAQ) withstood heavy aircraft operations and harsh weather conditions for nearly 40 years. In 2013, however, a pavement condition survey confirmed that it was time to replace the pavement on this critical runway.

In 2016, the City of Palmer awarded a design contract to HDL to rehabilitate the runway pavement, extend and improve the runway safety area beyond both runway ends, and assist with other related minor improvements.

During the design phase, HDL provided planning assistance, surveying, and environmental services. In addition, the design team completed an Airport Layout Plan update.

During construction, HDL provided construction administration services, including inspection, daily reports, nuclear densometer testing, and asphalt testing. Construction work consisted of placing new lighting, milling the paved surface of the existing runway, and installing new leveling course and pavement.

While construction was ongoing, the work required careful coordination between HDL, the Airport Manager, leaseholders, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the contractor to minimize impacts on airport operations and prevent incursions within the runway safety area (RSA) or the obstacle free zone. Operational requirements at the airport, including the State of Alaska Division of Forestry’s use of the runway to support wildland firefighting, also added to the project’s complexity. HDL balanced user needs and developed a construction schedule and sequencing that completed the work with minimal disturbance.

To reduce project costs during construction, HDL coordinated with the FAA to receive approval to incorporate reused materials, which allowed the airport to bundle several needed improvements into one construction project. For example, the milled asphalt was used to construct runway shoulders and to resurface and extend the Runway 34 RSA. This strategy of incorporating reused materials resulted in a 40% cost reduction from original estimates. Additional benefits of reusing materials included reducing the amount of material imported to and exported from the airport, minimizing impacts to the environment and improving traffic safety.This airport rehabilitation project received the 2017 ASCE Region 8 Project of the Year award and the 2018 Alaska Engineers Week Grand Prize. The City of Palmer received these awards due to the project’s overall sustainability, efficient materials movement, and the innovative use of reclaimed materials for many of the project’s components.