Palmer Airport Runway 16/34

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

For more than two decades, HDL has been providing engineering and planning services to the Warren “Bud” Woods Palmer Municipal Airport. One of the most significant projects that HDL has undertaken at the airport is the Runway 16/34 Rehabilitation.

Despite being designed to last 20 years, the pavement on the 6,009-foot Runway 16/34 at Palmer Municipal Airport (PAQ) was able to withstand heavy aircraft operations and harsh weather conditions for nearly 40 years. However, in 2013, a pavement condition survey indicated that the pavement needed to be replaced.

The City of Palmer awarded HDL a design contract in 2016 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, and completed an Airport Layout Plan update.

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

Coordination was required between HDL, the Airport Manager, leaseholders, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the contractor during construction 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, added to the project’s complexity. HDL was able to balance user needs and developed a construction schedule and sequencing that completed the work with minimal disturbance.

To reduce project costs, 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. The milled asphalt was used to construct runway shoulders and to resurface and extend the Runway 34 RSA. This strategy resulted in a 40% cost reduction from original estimates and minimized impacts to the environment while improving traffic safety.

The project was highly successful and 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.