Augusta Regional Receives Masters Traffic on Renovated Runways

Dan Vnuk
Published in: 

Before the world's best golfers hit the well-manicured fairways at Augusta National Golf Club for the Masters Tournament each year, many fly into the well-maintained Augusta Regional Airport (AGS). This year, its runways were in especially good shape for the April event, because the east Georgia airport had just completed renovating its 8,000-foot primary runway a few months earlier.

The airfield improvements were enjoyed not only by pro golfers and major sponsors flying in on private aircraft, but scores of fans and behind-the-scenes tournament personnel taking advantage of increased commercial service added each year around Masters time. (Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection and US Airways Express serve AGS.)

Originally budgeted at $14.26 million, the runway reconstruction project was completed at 4% under



Project: Runway Reconstruction 

Location: Augusta (GA) Regional Airport

Runways Improved: 17-35 (primary); 8-26 (crosswind)

Cost: $13.67 million - 4% under budget

Project Manager: Campbell & Paris Engineers

Installation Contractor: APAC-Tennessee, Ballenger Paving Div.

Project Duration: 163 days

Project Completed: Dec. 2012

Progression of Work: Crosswind runway was temporarily configured to accommodate commercial traffic while primary runway was rehabbed, crews repaired existing bituminous structure & adjusted longitudinal and transverse gradients on primary runway,updated markings were applied to both runways

Of Note: Project won major awards from the American Concrete Paving Association & Georgia Airports Association

budget for $13.67 million, and also included work on AGS's 6,000-foot crosswind runway and four taxiways.

Increased traffic throughout the year, not just during Masters season, spurred the series of runway improvements. "Augusta Regional Airport has seen tremendous growth over the last six years," explains Executive Director Gary LeTellier. "As a result of this growth, it was imperative for the airport to ensure adequate facilities and infrastructure to accommodate current needs as well as future needs."

A new passenger terminal and comprehensive property renovations that premiered in 2007, combined with price-competitive airfares from carriers, combined to foster sustained growth, including record increases in passenger levels for the past two years. With traffic on the rise, AGS management took care to structure its master plan runway project strategically.

"We worked closely with the airlines throughout the construction process in order to make the process as seamless as possible," notes LeTellier. "We were happy to see the project completed not only on time, but also under budget. With the completion of this project, we now have a runway that can accommodate our needs for many years to come."

First This, Then That

The project was divided into four phases. Phase 1 involved modifying and configuring Runway 8-26, the airport's crosswind runway that is typically used by smaller general aviation aircraft, to temporarily serve commercial aircraft while the primary runway was renovated. In order to do so, crews widened 8-26 and installed temporary lighting, added new markings and relocated guidance signs.

Originally, 8-26 had been 150 feet wide. Then, years ago, the FAA funded a project to reduce its width to 75 feet, for general aviation aircraft only. The edge lights were moved for a 75-foot-wide runway, but the original pavement was left in place along the edges. To accommodate the reconstruction of Runway 17-35, 8-26 was reconfigured and marked to 150-foot width, and the runway edge lights were moved out to the edges of the original 150-foot-wide surface. The reconfiguration allowed air carrier aircraft to use the shorter Runway 8-26 while pavement reconstruction was completed on the main ILS runway, 17-35.

Phase 2 of the project included the complete rehabilitation of 17-35, AGS' primary runway. In addition to repairing the existing bituminous structure, crews adjusted the longitudinal and transverse gradients to meet current FAA standards and installed cable and conduit under the runway and shoulders. Prior to installing the new concrete overlay, crews profile-milled the existing asphalt surface. By specifying that millings be captured for use in future projects, Campbell & Paris Engineers boosted the current project's environmental quotient and front-loaded material savings for subsequent projects.

In all, more than 141,00 square yards of P-501 Portland cement concrete pavement were placed on the mainline runway and four taxiways, reports Kerr Chase, P.E., the project manager's resident engineer on the project.

Phase 3 returned Runway 8-26 to its more typical 75-foot-wide configuration, and during Phase 4, crews added saw-cut grooving to Runway17-35 and reapplied its permanent markings.

Phase 2, the most significant portion of the project, was scheduled to last 97 days, with airport management and key contractors committing to an extremely compressed construction schedule to minimize disruption to airline operations.

Although the construction team didn't meet its original schedule, the overage was not an issue with the airlines or airport, given the overall quality of the job, says Chase. Phase 2 was completed in 114 days and no liquidated damages were pursued. Because other phases were completed ahead of schedule, crews met the overall project duration of 163 days, he adds.

Green Jacket Project

Just as Aussie Adam Scott received the coveted green blazer for his triumph at the Masters this year, AGS and its contractors were recognized for their winning performances during the 2012 runway work. The project not only won a gold award in the Airport Overlay category from American Concrete Paving Association, it was also named Commercial Project of the Year by the Georgia Airports Association.

Completing the job on time and under budget was like birdieing a tough par four for the installer (APAC - Tennessee, Ballenger Paving Division) and project management firm (Campbell & Paris Engineers).

H. D. Campbell, Jr., P.E., owner and co-founder of Campbell & Paris, notes that the company's hands-on management approach has resulted in hundreds of successful commercial and general aviation airport projects in the last 31 years.

"We provide our clients with practical, cost-effective solutions to complex planning and engineering problems," says Campbell. "It is our philosophy that today's airport professional must have experience in airport planning, environmental studies, engineering design, cost estimating, construction management, airport operations and finance - the total program."


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