Silver Award –Naval Air Station Oceania, Virginia Beach, VA

Contractor: The Lane Construction Corporation*

Owner: U.S. Navy, NAS Oceania

Engineer: Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, Inc.

From outward appearances, this runway reconstruction and lighting replacement project at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., may have seemed like any ordinary project, but the issue of unsuitable soils meant the construction team had to take some extraordinary steps to keep the project on track.

Initial plans called for the removal of 25,000 CY of unsuitable soil, but the contractor removed and replaced that quantity of soil during only the first 10% of the runway grading. The Lane Construction Company worked closely with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) and used a combination of methods and materials, including undercutting, soil cement, cement treated aggregate, and even testing and receiving approval to place cement treated aggregate on top of the old runway, which was constructed with concrete pavement in 1942, was about 22 in. below finish grade. Making matters worse, the contractor had to remove several asphalt overlays and a section of 8 in. concrete from the 1980s.  

The contractor worked collaboratively with the Navy to minimize cost and scheduling impacts.  Although the Navy budgeted $4.5 million for the subgrade work, Lane’s costs were only $1.65 million. To reconstruct the main runway (14R/32L) and the adjacent areas, the contractor placed 6 in. of crushed concrete, followed by 6 in. cement-treated aggregate and 12 to 15 in. of concrete pavement to reconstruct the 1.5 mile runway, including 4 intersections.  In all, a total of 197,581 SY of concrete was placed at a total cost of under $16.5 million.

The overall project was broken into 100 separate phases to help maintain traffic and power and controls of the lighting system.  Night paving allowed the contractor to take advantage of cooler temperatures and reduced air traffic. A 1.2 mile haul road constructed around the runway helped the crews avoid crossing active runways. The project also included new lights on all taxiways and runways, as well as replacement of equipment in the control tower and in new electrical vaults.

Despite closing two of the four runways, aircraft operations did not decrease. As the construction moved forward, the Navy continued its operations with an average of 800 aircraft per day, and during the span of the project, the Air Station Oceana saw more than 1,000,000 flight operations, supported over 100,000 passenger operations, handled 8,000 transient aircraft, and processed more than 1,200 detachment requests. 

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* ACPA member.