Runway success

By Chris Sleight15 April 2010

Asphalt contractor Tilcon Connecticut Inc. chose a Volvo PF6110 tracked paver and two Volvo DD138HFA and DD118HF compactors for the job of repaving Runway 6-24 at Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Connecticut, US. The US$ 17 million project was funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which recommends rehabilitating airport runways every 20 years.

Timing was crucial, as the airport serves 6 million passengers a year, and severe penalties would have been imposed on the contractor if it had over-run.

"Runway 6-24 is the main runway at Bradley," said Richard Birge, manager of construction for Tilcon, "But it had to be shut down for three consecutive weekends while we milled and paved - it was imperative that we kept to the schedule. There were no rain dates in the schedule. If it rained a lot, we had to change the hours worked. At times we were operating 24 hours a day."

The FAA stipulated that Tilcon had to pave the 2.9 km long, 76m wide, runway with a 100 mm thick mat using 62900 tons (57180 tonnes) of approved hot mix asphalt. But because Tilcon's asphalt plant is 39 km away from the airport, it had to use a convoy of 30 trucks running back and forth, day and night, to transport 1800 tons (1636 tonnes) of the material per shift.

For paving the company chose a Volvo PF6110 tracked paver with an Omni 318 screed. The screed has a standard paving width of 5m so Volvo installed four 300 mm extensions on each side to reach the required width.

Compaction density requirements were also very stringent. Highway contracts in the US usually require 92% compaction density, however, the FAA demands 96.3%. The Volvo DD118HF and DD138HFA double drum asphalt compactors were selected for the job because they feature eight amplitude setting, allowing the specified amount of force to be applied, preventing over-compaction.

Runway 6-24 opened on June 23, 2009 and Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell hailed the success of the project, stating it was, "On time and under budget."

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