Runway 13/31 Reconstruction – Phase I, Topeka/Shawnee Co, KS
Contractor: Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc.
Owner: Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority
Engineer: WSP

The Topeka Regional Airport has been in service since the time of World War II, so when it was time to replace the main runway and perform other upgrades, the owner specified concrete.

Originally built as a military base and later expanded to service both commercial and private air traffic, as well as both the Kansas Air National Guard and Army National Guard). The main runway (13/31) has been in use for many decades utilizing the original concrete pavement. In addition to needing new pavement with stabilized subgrade and a drainable base and under-drain system, the facility also needed upgrades including new runway lighting and signage; updated navigational aids; an improved profile and geometry.

The contractor, Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc. had the challenge of replacing the runway while maintaining military and commercial air traffic. The project was divided into two phases to be constructed over two years.

Phase 1, an $18 million project, was started in February 2017 and completed in October 2017. Emery Sapp crews completely removed 6,500 feet of main runway and replaced with 16.5 in. doweled JCPC pavement. The project also involved removing 154,000 SY of existing runway and taxiway; grading more than 265,000 CY; placing 123,000 SY of lime treated subgrade; and placing 54,000 CY of concrete and 20,000 CY of cement-treated permeable base. Additional features include over 18,000 LF of under drain, a new lighting and navigational system, new pavement markings.

The mix designs for both the concrete and cement-treated permeable base used granite and trap rock to increase the durability of the final product and potentially extend the life of the pavement. Fly ash was also added to the mixture to mitigate ASR and create a denser mixture.

This project was completed on time and under budget, with no accidents or safety-related incidents.  Also, as a testament of the quality of the product, it should be noted that more than 112,000 SY of concrete pavement were placed with corrective actions needed. With an average smoothness index of just over a 0.50 in. per mile, this smooth, durable pavement is expected to provide service for decades to come.