At the base of one of the highest summits in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs Airport can be victim of volatile weather. Storms and freezing temperatures are not unusual.

For the RS&H team that worked on the recent rehabilitation of the airport’s terminal apron, nearby Pikes Peak was just one contender to overcome to successfully complete the project.

Overcoming weather delays, complex phasing and a stringent schedule were all the more reason the restoration project was recently recognized with an American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) 2017 Excellence in Concrete Pavement Award by the Colorado-Wyoming chapter.

ACPA strives to make Portland cement concrete pavement (PCCP) the material of choice for airport pavements, recognizing its strength, reliability and versatility. RS&H’s rehabilitation project at the airport included plenty of the material.

The Colorado Springs project involved pavement rehabilitation and trench drain replacement around the entire concourse. Since the scope of the project was so vast, careful phasing was essential to both operations and schedule.

“Phasing of the construction was critical to keeping the airport operational during this project,” said RS&H project manager Alex McKean.

To meet the tight, 135 -day schedule, the project was divided into three main phases, each with multiple sub-phases to accommodate the work. This was required so the project could be completed within the construction season, while also allowing for separate phases to keep aircraft operational around the individual work areas and maintaining the required number of open gates to accommodate all the airlines.

Seamless coordination was imperative to the successful phasing plan that required each gate to be closed at some point.

”We had to coordinate with each airline and put in place all the IT infrastructure to relocate the airline to temporary gates during the construction,” McKean said. “We had to move United, Delta, Alaska, Allegiant and American. Then, Frontier announced they would be starting service at COS, so we had to revise our gate layouts to accommodate them into the mix when the project was completed.”

Adding to the complicated phasing, the project had a calendar day schedule that would be tested by weather. Early in the project, winter storms and cold temperatures prevented work from being performed and impeded the contractor’s progress on critical path items, delaying work on the project more than two weeks. RS&H worked with the contractor to develop a recovery plan, and the project was ultimately completed on schedule.

While the scope and tight schedule of the project may have earned the APCA award, perhaps what was most rewarding was a compliment from the airport’s management. Keeping displaced tenants happy, ensuring passengers are unaffected, all while progressing construction as planned is no easy task. But it was a task the team accomplished.

“When airport management isn’t hearing anything about a large construction project right outside their terminal gates,” McKean said, “it means everyone is doing a fantastic job.”