Taxiway Overhaul at Tulsa International Airport

Airport projects shift to repaving Following $30 million in construction on Tulsa International Airport's passenger terminal in the last few years, airport staff and contractors are shifting their focus to taxiway and runway construction projects.

In the largest pavement rehabilitation program undertaken by the airport in 15 to 20 years, nearly every taxiway at the airport is being overhauled this year, airport officials said.

Taxiways are the concrete roadways that aircraft use to get from one runway to another or to the terminal apron.

Airports Director Jeff Mulder said most of the taxiway projects involve rehabilitation of the pavement, from resurfacing to complete reconstruction.

"We have a pavement measurement, known as the Pavement Condition Index, which reflects the condition of the pavement," Mulder said. "When the condition of the pavement reaches a certain stage, we schedule reconstruction."

Taxiways at Tulsa International range from 14 inches to 18 inches thick, 75 feet wide and a mile or more in length, officials say. Heavy use, exposure to freeze-thaw cycles, jet fuel and deicing chemicals can affect their longevity, they said.

The lowest responsible bidder on the $12.15 million in taxiway projects under way and expected to be completed by year-end was Sherwood Construction Co. Inc. of Tulsa.

Taxiway Charlie, the largest project now under construction, runs parallel to the 7,695-foot-long east-west, or crosswind, runway.

Today, Charlie extends about half the length of the crosswind runway. Construction is adding 1,000 feet to the taxiway and is expected to be completed in a month, said Jeff Hough, deputy airports director of engineering and facilities.

"Still to be added will be about 2,000 feet, which will be in the project next year," Hough said.

Taxiway Juliet, 8,000 feet long, runs parallel to and on the west side of the airport's 10,000-foot main north-south runway.

Three Juliet projects, involving reconstruction and resurfacing of taxiway connectors from 200 feet to 500 feet in length, were completed in April, Hough said.

Reconstruction on Taxiway Hotel, which is 1,500 feet in length and joins the terminal apron and the west side of the main runway, has begun and will be completed after Taxiway Charlie is completed, or about a month, Hough said.

The work on Taxiway Hotel involves repairing joints and partial or complete reconstruction, officials said.

Golf I, a 400-foot-long taxiway connector on the south end of the main runway, is under construction; it is being completely rebuilt down to the base, Hough said.

The Taxiway Foxtrot project, which involves reconstruction of two 500-foot sections on the south end of the main runway, will get under way in October and be completed by January, Hough said.

Construction is expected to begin on a new 1,500-foot section of Taxiway Echo in August and be completed by January.

Echo runs parallel to the main north-south runway in two unconnected segments totaling 8,500 feet on the north and south ends of the runway. The new construction will join the segments, officials said.

"This is very significant work to maintain access to the main runway by air carriers," Hough said. "These are among the most heavily used pavements at the airport. You'll continue to see work on airfield pavement projects for the next few years."

In 2007, the Tulsa Airport Improvement Trust's capital improvement plan includes a 3,000-foot extension to the east of Taxiway Charlie.

The airport's 10,000-foot main runway is scheduled to be reconstructed in 2009.

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