Los Angeles Int’l Overhauls Airfield Pavement Maintenance Strategy
Nothing looks better from the ground or the air than a freshly surfaced runway, apron or taxiway. It’s new, it’s fresh and it looks professional. Then Mother Nature goes to work – with pounding rain, scorching sun, freezing temperatures and howling winds. As weather batters it daily, the pavement groans under the weight of heavy equipment and aircraft rolling over its surface. Soon, it begins to crack, moisture seeps in and the nice, beautiful runway looks like someone took a pickax to the surface.
That’s a scenario Garfield County Regional Airport (RIL) in Rifle, CO, was determined to prevent after crews laid fresh, new pavement there three years ago. Instead of waiting five years before resurfacing the new runway as most airports do, RIL devised a preventive maintenance program to postpone a full resurfacing. Data from consultants and vendors indicate that promptly spending a few hundred thousand dollars every few years could save the airport millions of dollars over the runway’s total lifespan.
One of the first things LAX did was hire a consultant, Sightline, to perform a markings audit, explains David Shuter, deputy executive director of Facilities Engineering & Maintenance. Issues identified ran the gamut from peeling paint to markings with improper dimensions and non-current layouts. Reflectivity, which affects pilots’ ability to see markings at night, was a particular problem.