Experts of runways
Successful runway projects require professional skills, suitable equipment and a flexible attitude. Experience is a primary consideration.
Strict requirements apply to paving runways at airports. The customer provides the framework and the schedule, as each day of renovation means less income for the airport operator.
When selecting a contractor, the price is only one of the considerations. The customer needs a contractor that will definitely be able to complete the project.
"The project must be planned carefully. When the work begins, there will be no time for delays," says Project Manager Hannu Nenonen from Lemminkäinen.
The laboratory work related to planning paving for runways is demanding and requires a high level of professional skills. The paving must endure heavy loads, chemicals and varied weather conditions. The paving equipment must also be customised to ensure efficiency and high quality.
"Only previous experience ensures smoothly running projects," says Nenonen. We have plenty of experience – here are some examples of our runway projects in the Nordic countries.
Site: Helsinki Airport, Finland
First we milled and paved runway 3 and taxiways at Helsinki Airport. Later we paved airport levels and main runway 1.
The customer appreciated three qualities above everything else: flight safety, the quality of the work and rapid completion. "The quality of the work must be so high that nothing needs to be redone. The schedule is tight, with absolutely no leeway. The contractor must have capacity, proven professional skills and flexibility," says Ari Sireeni, Project Manager at Finavia. We completed the first phase of the project in cooperation with Finavia. The customer and the contractor plan the work together. "This alliance model is ideal for a busy airport, as the communication needs to be effortless," says Nenonen.
Working the night shift
Site: Tromsø Airport, Norway
Time: June–July 2015
One of the busiest airports in Norway, Tromsø has only one runway, which needed to remain operational throughout the project. We worked from midnight to 6 a.m. and temporarily lit a one-kilometre stretch of the runway for ambulance planes. Because of the demanding circumstances and tight schedule, we focused all of our paving, infrastructure and road construction resources on the airport. We used our own employees only, which required some additional administrative work but proved to be the key to success.
Faster, faster, faster
Site: Sønderborg, Denmark
Customer: Municipality of Sønderborg
Time: June 2015
We have been responsible for the maintenance of Sønderborg Airport in southern Denmark since 2008. The need to replace the asphalt emerged in conjunction with the most recent annual review.
The work needed to be completed rapidly, as the airport had only one runway. Our team of 70 people worked nonstop for 30 hours on the runway, which was 1.8 kilometres long and 30 metres wide. Even though we had just one weekend to complete the project, the asphalt and the work needed to be of prime quality. We kept filling the asphalt feeder continuously, and once a lorry had unloaded, it drove back to the asphalt plant for a new load.
Asphalt by the Arctic Ocean
Site: Andøya, Norway
Time: August 2013 to November 2014
We were faced with the sea, freezing winds and snow, as the Andøya Military Airport is located by the Arctic Ocean. The Arctic climate and de-icing agents had worn out the runway, and loose stones posed a risk for airplanes. We milled the asphalt during the winter and replaced it the following summer. We made the runway slightly wider and replaced its lighting technology, lighting and rainwater inlets. We stabilised the concrete slabs under the asphalt against frost heaving using rubber mesh. A shorter runway was available for planes during the work. Our key to success was close cooperation with the customer.
An asphalt plant to an island
Site: Svalbard Airport, Longyear, Norway
Arctic climate and tough weather conditions had caused the runway to crack in Svalbard. We milled the old paving and replaced the asphalt on the runway, taxiways and airport levels. Svalbard, an archipelago with fewer than 2,700 residents, is located far into the Arctic Ocean, which posed challenges. With no local production, we shipped an asphalt plant and other necessary materials to the site. Finding the right asphalt mix required great skill, as the temperature in Svalbard ranges between -44 °C and +22 °C.
Text Juho Paavola, photos Lemminkäinen