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Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport

Project Details



Detroit, MI

Client / Owner

Wayne County Airport Authority


Award of Excellence, Michigan Concrete Association, 2017

Award of Merit, Airport Projects Category, Asphalt Pavement Association of Michigan and Michigan Department of Transportation, 2016

Airports Going Green Award, AAAE, 2017

One of the world’s leading air transportation hubs, the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) provides services to 36.7 million annual passengers and contributes $10.2 billion in annual economic impact. As a trusted consultant to the Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA), RS&H provided services for the Runway 4L-22R reconstruction project that included many improvements to the airfield. The pavements addressed in the project include Runway 4L-22R, Taxiway A, Taxiways A1-A10, End-Around Taxiway Q, Taxiway R, and portions of Taxiway V.

Reconstruction efforts included the removal and replacement of the ASR laden PCC pavement and partial depth removal and replacement of bituminous base for all PCC pavements. All bituminous taxiway/runway shoulders were removed and replaced due to inadequate base material. RS&H designed the reconstructed pavements to meet current FAA requirements and improve the efficiency of aircraft operations. Additional items addressed in the reconstruction project include runway/ taxiway safety area grading to correct nonstandard grading, underdrain improvements, replacement of runway/taxiway lighting and signage, airfield lighting vault improvements, installation of a new pavement condition sensor system, and pavement markings.

The reconstruction of Runway 4L-22R included its full-length parallel Taxiway A, all the connectors, and the end around Taxiway Q. RS&H worked with the airport staff to develop a unique phasing plan using milestones that would ensure the runway would be open through the winter. The project was completed on time and the runway complex was opened for winter operations.

Sustainability is key

The project earned Envision ‘Silver’ certification after being completed ahead of time, under budget, and diverting 99 percent of recyclable material from landfills. The Detroit airport is only the second in the country to RS&H created a resilient design and managed construction with a focus on sustainability. From recycling materials to using low-energy lighting and prudent stormwater management, the runway reconstruction project is an important element of the authority’s sustainability program.

RS&H went above and beyond compliance with environmental regulations during construction by reducing existing impervious surfaces at the site. By minimizing the amount of pavement, the resulting stormwater runoff and the associated water quality impacts were decreased, along with maintenance costs.

RS&H’s scope of work for the project included completing preliminary design, planning, and environmental services; final design of the reconstruction; and construction phase services consisting of construction administration, inspection, and testing of the entire complex. Due to the importance of the runway complex to the operations at the airport, reconstruction was completed in one construction season.

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