Location: Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport, Oscoda Township
Contractor/Supplier: Ajax Paving Industries
Engineer: Mead & Hunt
Owner: Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport Authority
One of the oldest airfields in Michigan, Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport was initially used as a target range in the 1920’s, progressing to being a vital part of the Strategic Air Command before converting to private use in 1993. Given its military history, any existing topsoil at the airport was not to be disturbed to avoid potential risk of unearthing unexploded ordinances. This required Ajax crews to set up their portable concrete batch plant, aggregate stockpiles, and truck wash-out locations a quarter mile away on existing concrete pavement.
With this rehabilitation project, Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport has its eyes set on the future with this over 50,000 square yard, 7-inch-thick concrete overlay of the second half of one of its existing aprons. Ajax used a stringless paving system by Trimble to ensure proper alignment and concrete thickness throughout the project. Concrete was constantly monitored for consistency, being placed by a GOMACO slipform paver in 25-foot-wide passes. 16 pilot lanes were placed followed by 15 filler lanes. The pavement was burlap dragged and cured with a GOMACO cure machine to ensure proper strength and durability.
Being an overlay, careful attention was made to ensure the proposed joints lined up directly with the existing pattern to avoid reflective cracking. Strings were used after each day’s completion to ensure joint lines would remain consistent throughout the entire apron. Only after joint sealing operations were completed, were vehicles allowed to access the apron.
Despite an initial two-month delay in securing FAA funds due to COVID-19 restrictions, a stellar level of commitment from the team allowed the overlay to be completed in a timely manner. The result is a stunning apron that will help accommodate the airport’s future expansion for decades to come.