17. Metro Airport Runway

Runway 3L/21R & Associated Taxiways & centralized deicing facility (CDF)

Location: Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), Romulus
Contractor/Supplier: Ajax Paving Industries
Engineer: Kimley Horn Associates
Owner: Wayne County Airport Authority

This project reconstructed one of the primary departure runways at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County International Airport (DTW) – Runway 3L-21R and associated Taxiways M, P, and Taxiway PP. A centralized deicing facility (CDF) and Runway 21R Hold Bay were also constructed as part of the overall project. The CDF will serve all carriers at the Airport with deicing positions for seven aircraft, with the option of one additional deicing spot. The facility also includes a new taxilane, 11 overnight parking spots for aircraft, lighting, and associated ancillary facilities to support the deicing operations. The project was phased in a way to maintain aircraft traffic as well as allow constant access to aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) throughout the 1.5-mile project site.

Begun in 2019 and completed during the construction season of 2020, this project (totaling 12 phases to reduce impact on operations) required a total of 584,000 square yards of 17-inch-thick concrete pavement, along with just over 1,000,000 cubic yards of earthwork. Meeting the demand of paving concrete slabs this deep and wide required two (2) dual drum batch plants, each with a capacity of 12 cubic yards. Plants then loaded a combination of dump trucks and agitors with a consistent concrete mix capable of meeting all FAA and ASTM requirements.

Feeding GOMACO rubber-tired placers, the concrete was quickly distributed, even at the lower end of the slump limit. The spreader plow on the paver moved the volume of concrete more quickly and efficiently than an auger. GOMACO pavers were easily able to comply with FAA’s stringent smoothness tolerance specifications with the help of their Trimble Total Station Guidance system. Stringless paving provided a substantial cost and time savings, allowing Ajax to pave efficiently without the need for surveying, setting string lines, or driving stakes. Ajax’s new paver Remote Control Belly Pack allows tremendous flexibility and visibility for the operator, whether on the machine while paving, or on the ground during a width change or loadout.

Control charts were utilized to monitor both aggregate gradation and the fresh concrete’s slump and air content to maintain a consistent concrete mix for both slipform and sideform mix designs. Thickness was monitored on a real-time basis for quality control using Trimble PCS 900 Machine Control, SPS930 Total Stations and SCS900 Data Acquisition software. This system provided for instantaneous measurement of the slab to +-0.001 foot (3 millimeters). Once the slab cured sufficiently, quality assurance measurements were taken by the removal of cores from the finished concrete slab. During production, over 300 individual aggregate gradations were performed, 1,260 flexural strength quality control specimens were broken and over 1,000 individual quality control slump, air content, unit weight and concrete temperature tests were taken.