The Taxiway Bravo Realignment Project was identified by the Airport and the FAA as a top priority due to several major concerns. First and foremost, Runway 14-32 at the Airport did not have a full length parallel taxiway. Second, for the portion of 14-32 that did have a parallel taxiway (the northern third), the taxiway was higher in elevation than the runway which is not allowed by the FAA (Part 77 Obstruction). Next, the existing taxiway connectors between the southern ends of Runways 14-32 and 1-19 had non-standard geometry, leading to safety concerns. Finally, Runway 14-32 and 1-19 were physically connected at their southern end which is creates what is known as a "hot spot," a dangerous location where aircraft could collide.
An Environmental Study was performed to determine the impacts of the proposed work on the surrounding environment. A Categorical Exclusion was obtained, essentially meaning there were no significant environmental concerns and the project was allowed by the FAA to proceed.
The Walker Partners’ Team hit the ground running by performing the topographic survey for the existing ground surface, pavement, drainage system, structures, lighting, and miscellaneous elements within the proposed project area. Simultaneously, Langerman Foster Engineering performed a geotechnical investigation which was used by the design subconsultant to prepare the pavement design for the proposed taxiway and taxiway connectors, utilizing the FAA's pavement design requirements and FAARFIELD design software.
Preliminary horizontal alignments and vertical profiles for the new taxiway and taxiway connectors were prepared. Walker Partners and our Engagement Partners finalized these designs in accordance with the strict requirements of the FAA's Advisory Circular. Walker Partners then prepared the earthwork grading design and drainage design. Cross Sections, Typical Sections, Demolition Plans, and Standard Details were prepared to complete the plans. Other Engagement Partners provided lighting, signage, and pavement marking plans along with safety and phasing plans.
There were areas of concern with respect to the FAA's standard requirements throughout the design process. In all instances, the Walker Partners’ Team was able to coordinate with the staff of the FAA's Southwest Region to determine agreeable solutions for the Airport and to continue moving forward with the Project.
Walker Partners performed quantity calculations, prepared bidding documents, wrote technical specifications, and compiled the Project Manual in accordance with the City of Waco's Purchasing Department criteria. Unfortunately, all bids came in higher than the budget prices that were prepared by one of our Engagement Partners in years prior. Furthermore, two alternate bids – Taxiway Bravo North and Taxiway Charley Surface Treatment – could not be awarded due to insufficient funds. The former of these two alternate bids was critical to the Project.
Walker Partners acted quickly to problem solve and identified one particular item that drastically skewed the pricing beyond the original cost estimate – P-209 Crushed Aggregate Base, a material specified in our subconsultant's pavement design. The Walker Partners’ Team believed that an alternate pavement design could be prepared and discussed this potential solution with the subconsultant. The subconsultant, however, was not willing to pursue the alternate design, and lead Walker Partners to conclude that this subconsultant did not have the City of Waco's best interest in mind. Undeterred, Walker Partners requested permission from the City to change consultants. The change of was permitted and allowed Walker Partners to enlist the services of Lochner, a national and regional leader in airport design.
Walker Partners analyzed and evaluated numerous possible pavement designs in order to specify the right solution that was not only within Waco’s budget but was also one that did not sacrifice function, durability, or longevity. Collaboration and communication with our new subconsultant and the contractor was essential to deliver Waco Regional Airport the best value.
After several meetings and discussions with the Client, contractor, and subconsultants, a new, alternative pavement design was selected. This pavement design was sent to the FAA’s Southwest Region office for their review and approval. Upon FAA approval, a change order was prepared to utilize the revised, alternative pavement design. This change order produced savings of over $750,000! With this savings, the Airport was able to award both alternate bids that were originally rejected, with over $500,000 in funds to spare. Currently, Walker Partners and Lochner are working with the contractor, the Airport, and the FAA to identify a use for this money so that the City does not lose its right to it. The preferred solution – a change order to provide enhanced taxiway pavement markers at all the Airport's taxiway connector intersections – is currently being negotiated.
Walker Partner's watchful eye, quick action, willingness to adapt, and excellent negotiating skills all helped turn this potential funding crisis into a tremendous benefit for the City of Waco!
completion date: 2016
location: waco, tx