Life in America has dramatically changed since the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Evidence of this is perhaps most notable at airports throughout our nation. Transportation Security Administration agents are ever present, Security Screening Areas have been established, numerous security protocols have been implemented, and perimeter fences have been installed. Waco Regional Airport has experienced all of these changes, along with the heightened threat of terrorist activity. The vast majority of the Waco Regional Airport’s perimeter is encompassed by pastureland, creating an additional challenge in patrolling the perimeter to further safeguard security. Furthermore, it presents a hindrance to quick ingress and egress for maintenance and emergency vehicle operations. Based on these factors, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been working with airports across the country to provide perimeter service roads.
Walker Partners was tasked with designing over five miles of service road for the Waco Regional Airport. This included the horizontal alignment, the vertical profile, earthwork, drainage, and FAA utility relocations. The horizontal alignment was closely coordinated with Airport personnel in order to meet their needs and concerns (such as proximity to perimeter fence and mowing maintenance). Because the road was so long and the budget was limited, the vertical profile of the road proved to be problematic. A typical road would have culverts or bridges at low points to allow drainage to cross the road. With the service road’s low volume and the high cost of drainage culverts, Walker Partners developed an innovative design that would allow stormwater runoff to sheet flow across the pavement, thus minimizing the number of drainage culverts and thereby keeping the project within the FAA’s budget.
Throughout the design process, Walker Partners communicated frequently with the FAA’s Southwest Region to comply with their design standards and specifications. During the plan review, the FAA raised a concern with the proximity of the Service Road to the Airport’s Instrument Landing System (ILS) Localizer Antenna. The FAA argued that their standards would not allow the Service Road to be as close to the ILS as planned. However, to meet the FAA’s minimum distance would require the Service Road to be outside of the Airport fence and onto the Skeet Eason Road Right-of-Way! The FAA would not relax their requirement, and the entire project was in danger of being disapproved. Walker Partners persevered by developing an alternate plan and negotiating an agreement with the FAA that allowed the Perimeter Service Road project to move forward, while the area near the localizer antenna would be analyzed further in the future.
Walker Partners worked closely with the City of Waco’s Purchasing and Legal Departments to finalize the bidding documents, advertise for bids, address contractor questions, issue Addenda, award the lowest and best bid, prepare contracts, and kick off construction. Walker Partners provided construction administration and resident project representative (inspection) services throughout construction to ensure that the project was completed to the highest standards.
Walker Partners’ innovative solutions, responsiveness, and strong working relationship with the FAA procured the Project’s approval and allowed the Project to remain on schedule for bidding and construction. Walker Partners was relentless in our unwavering pursuit to craft a compromise between the Federal Aviation Administration and the Waco Regional Airport in such that the grant funding for the Project and safety of the Airport was not jeopardized!
completion date: 2015
location: waco, tx