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Houston Airport System 

Project Details

Since 2014, RS&H has served as an on-call consultant for the Houston Airport System (HAS), one of the largest public airport systems, international passenger, and cargo gateway to the south-central U.S. HAS operates three airports: George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), and Ellington Airport/Spaceport (EFD), which served a combined 60 million passengers in 2023.

The collaboration between RS&H and the Houston Airport System is a testament to the successful integration of environmental stewardship, sustainable growth, and operational resilience. The environmental services provided have not only addressed crucial environmental aspects but have also contributed significantly to the overall resilience and sustainable growth of the Houston Airport System.

Environmental Stewardship & Resiliency

Over the years, the RS&H team has completed over 100 assignments at all HAS airports. The involvement has spanned multiple areas, including air and water quality; wetlands and biological resources, historic and biological resources; hazardous materials; and NEPA. RS&H has led a multidisciplinary team, involving 12 specialty environmental scientists and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) specialists, in over 100 assignments across diverse domains. The breadth and depth of RS&H’s experience have enabled HAS staff to anticipate environmental requirements in support of the capital improvement program.

Airfield Rehabilitation

Heavy use over time had caused the airfield pavements at IAH to deteriorate. RS&H designed and provided construction administration services for the reconstruction of two 12,000 LF Taxiways WA and WB which serve the West complex. Runways 15L-33R, and 15R-33L and West Cargo, Fed Ex, Atlantic FBO services, United Express Maintenance, and the corporate hangars of several oil companies. RS&H’s phasing allowed construction while maintaining access to all of these facilities. Additionally, the 460 C rehabilitation projects made heavy maintenance repairs of various airfield pavements. The engineering report that was used for the design included an innovative aerial photography/CADD data interface, permitting much of the engineering evaluations to be completed with minimal runway downtime.

Both ends of the HOU runway constructed in the 1980s had significantly honeycombed concrete, leading to the need for replacement of each runway end. RS&H rehabilitated Runway 4-22 and Taxiway C. Runway 4-22 is one of the few continuously reinforced concrete pavements in the world. RS&H developed and designed a detailed jointing/load transfer system to connect the new plain unreinforced pavement to the old continuous reinforced pavement.

Drainage Master Plans

As part of the Houston Airport System general engineering contract, RS&H provided an updated Drainage Master Plan (DMP) and Storm Water Quality Master Plan (SWQMP) for IAH, EFD, and HOU. The DMP and SWQMP are essential outcomes to the Airport Master Plan (AMP) to identify necessary drainage improvements addressing existing drainage issues and accommodating future development listed in the AMP. We met the objective of the SWQMP to identify potential development impacts on existing storm water quality features and to provide water quality guidance and recommendations for the future improvement projects detailed in the Airport Master Plan.

Similar studies were completed for HOU, EFD and IAH which presented some unique challenges related to property availability for stormwater facilities, wildlife attraction concerns, off-airport improvements and associated coordination, and multiple jurisdictional requirements.

Spaceport

RS&H completed an application for a site operator license at Ellington Airport (Houston Spaceport). As part of the site operator license, RS&H delivered wetland and water resources, NEPA documentation, and preliminary design work in support of the operation of horizontally-launched reusable launch vehicles such as Concept X and Z vehicles at the commercial spaceport.

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