Taxiway Pavement Replacement at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, GA
Contractor: McCarthy Improvement Company 
Owner: Hartsfield-Jackson-Atlanta International Airport
Engineer: Atkins

Completing any construction project at the world’s busiest airport would be a challenge, but when ATL airport needed three taxiways and adjacent shoulders replaced, McCarthy Improvement Company met the challenges by delivering a quality concrete pavement reconstruction project.

The total contract was $23.7 million, with the concrete portion accounting for more than $5.1 million. In all, the work was completed in 10 phases. The overall project duration was 330 calendar days, with liquidated damages set at $100/minute for any delays in reopening taxiways as specified, as well as $3,000/day penalties for exceeding the 330-day schedule.

The demo sections depth varied from 16.75 in. to 22 in. During one phase of the demolition, crews found and removed two layers of concrete with strength at or above 3,000 psi.

The taxiway pavement replacement project consisted of full depth replacement of portions of three taxiways. In all, the work included 38,000 SY of concrete paving removal, new centerline lights, subgrade repairs, new underdrain system, and a complete rebuilding of asphalt shoulders.

The typical new taxiway section was comprised of new underdrains trunk lines and herring bones, new light can conduits & light cans, a P-401 bituminous leveling course on top of 6 in. of soil cement, fully rebuilt asphalt shoulders, and a 20 in. concrete pavement. The non-reinforced/reinforced concrete thicknesses were: 20 in., 20 to 26 in. thickened edges, and 16 to 20 in., and a 16 in. shoulder ramp.

Typical slab sizes were 25 ft x 25 ft, with two of the phases having outside slabs measuring 12.5 ft wide 25 ft long. The smaller slabs were reinforced, slip-formed, and extended for a total length of approx. 900 linear ft in one phase and 725 linear ft in another.

The required straight-edge smoothness was 12 in., with a maximum 0.25 in. deviation on 16 ft with anything over 0.5 in. removed and replaced. Despite the presence of new light cans installed in the center-line lanes, as well as intersecting taxiways, the concrete met the smoothness requirements with no grinding.

One of the keys to the successful completion of this project was the extensive planning and coordination, which ensured all the construction traffic and related operations were contained in the designated work area, thereby avoiding the disruption of airport operations. Haul routes were clearly marked on drawings provided to escorts and haul-truck drivers.

Scheduling was done for each hour of every 24-hour workday, which was divided into 12-hour shifts, with a 1-hour overlap for the crews. The project also benefited from strong support by the owner and engineer, along with real-time decision making to address unforeseen conditions, along with the contractor’s ability to adjust operations efficiently.

Expert planning, communications, and paving resulted in this project being completed on time. Thanks to this team effort, the three durable, concrete taxiways can be expected to meet the demands of this busy and bustling airport for many years to come.