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Apron Rehabilitation Project – Walla Walla Regional Airport, Walla Walla, WA
Port of Walla Walla – Washington
OVERVIEW

The existing airfield pavement and infrastructure at the Walla Walla Regional Airport was taken over by the United States Army Air Corps as a training facility in 1942 at the beginning of World War II. The concrete ramp covers nearly 40 acres along the eastern edge of the airport. It was the center of military operations, the site of the original commercial terminal, and now serves the General Aviation operations at the Walla Walla Regional Airport (ALW). The current project was designed to replace roughly 16 acres (77,800-SY) of the existing Portland cement concrete ramp. The area identified to be replaced was chosen due to the combination of its poor condition and its high usage.

J-U-B performed both design and construction management for this project. Design considerations included an evaluation of multiple pavement alternatives to rehabilitate an existing 1940’s vintage concrete pavement. A modified rubblization process was selected together with a 5” asphalt overlay as the most cost-effective, long-term solution. A design evaluation also recommended converting a portion of a vast existing concrete area into turf swale areas. This allowed for elimination of a trench drain system that was costly to maintain and a reduced pavement rehabilitation area, resulting in substantial cost savings. This configuration also allowed for better defined parking, taxi routes and definition of Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) movement area boundaries, per FAA Runway Safety Action Team (RSAT) recommendations. This project was bid with a base-bid plus additive bid schedules for budget flexibility, however, a multi-year grant allowed for the award of all bid schedules.

The Issues: The existing General Aviation (GA) ramp was constructed in 1943. There are indications of patching and other maintenance activities in the area designated to be rehabilitated; however, no major reconstruction has been performed since initial construction in 1943.

How we addressed the issues: The Apron was evaluated and considerations included multiple pavement alternatives to rehabilitate an existing 1940’s vintage concrete pavement. A modified rubblization process was selected together with a 5” asphalt overlay as the most cost-effective, long-term solution. The design evaluation also recommended converting a portion of a vast existing concrete area into turf swale areas. This allowed for elimination of a trench drain system that was costly to maintain and a reduced pavement rehabilitation area, resulting in substantial cost savings. This configuration also allowed for better defined parking, taxi routes and definition of Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) movement area boundaries, per FAA Runway Safety Action Team (RSAT) recommendations.

The Results: This project was bid with a base-bid plus additive bid schedules for budget flexibility, however, a multi-year grant allowed for the award of all bid schedules.  Walla Walla Regional Airport has a General Aviation Apron that will serve aircraft for years to come.

The Benefits: A costly trench drain system was eliminated saving the Port time and money as it was a time consuming and expense system to maintain.

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS
1st Place Quality Award for Excellence in Airport Paving