|Runway 13R-31L Reconstruction and Access Improvements|
The rehabilitating and widening of Runway 13R-31L at JFK Airport is no small task. At 14,572 feet in length—the second longest commercial runway in North America—the "Bay Runway" will require 208,000 yards of Portland cement concrete (enough to pave the field of every stadium in the National Football League with two feet of concrete), 200,000 tons of asphalt concrete (the weight of six Titanics), and 195,000 dowel bars (enough to stretch from JFK all the way to Orient Point on the East End of Long Island).
ASCE members got to find out about many of the challenges of the Runway 13R-13L Reconstruction and Access Improvement Project at John F. Kennedy International Airport when Guy Zummo of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey gave a technical lecture to the Met Section's Construction Group at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art on November 23, 2009.
Runway 13R-13L was last rehabilitated in 1993, underwent interim repairs in 2004, and is due for a major overhaul as airport runways typically have a service life of about eight years. In addition to rehabilitating the pavement, the runway will also be widened from 150 feet to 200 feet to accommodate Group VI aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747-8. Currently, Runway 4R-22L is the only one of Kennedy's four runways that is wide enough to support Group VI aircraft. Runway 4R-22L is primarily used for landings, while Runway 13R-13L is primarily used for takeoffs.
In 2006, the Port Authority undertook a constructability study to evaluate the options of constructing the runway with concrete or asphalt. Although concrete pavement requires a higher initial cost, it has a longer service life and requires less maintenance in subsequent years. After evaluating the results and reviewing construction phasing options with the airline community, concrete was selected as the best option for the rehabilitation of Runway 13R-31L.
The required pavement thickness for the runway was determined using the FAA Rigid and Flexible Iterative Elastic Layered Design (FAARFIELD) software program, accounting for the mix of aircraft at JFK, projected trends on types of aircraft operating in the future, and the forecasted annual growth in annual air passengers. After milling six inches of asphalt from the top of the existing runway, the new runway will be constructed with eighteen inches of concrete overlay.
Runway 13R-13L currently handles about a third of the airport's takeoffs and landings, including more than half of all departures. The project will incorporate new high-speed exits, taxiways, and holding pads to help reduce delays at the airport in the future, which currently handles the most air passengers out of New York City's three major airports. The runway project will also include new drainage and lighting, regraded safety areas, and a relocated patrol road.
The $204 million contract for the project was awarded in July 2009 and recent progress on the runway has involved the construction of a test section to ensure that work will proceed smoothly when the runway is completely shut down for construction during a 120-day period beginning in March 2010. To expedite the construction process, 22 acres of storage for materials will be provided at the airport along with an on-site concrete plant to reduce the number of truck trips. Other sustainability elements of the project include the reuse of milled asphalt from the runway, the treatment of storm water prior to discharge in a bio-swale, an increased amount of fly ash in the concrete to reduce cement content, and the use of HDPE piping made from recycled material.
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