At the American Council of Engineering Companies’ (ACEC) annual Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) competition, the ACEC recognized engineering firms throughout Tennessee for projects that demonstrate a high degree of achievement, value, and ingenuity. For 19 consecutive years, ACEC of Tennessee has recognized the most innovative projects and studies performed by Tennessee firms. The Tullahoma Regional Airport Runway 6/24 Rehabilitation project received the 2009 Engineering Excellence Merit Award.
The runway was originally built to serve a military base established during World War II and was used by the U.S. Army Air Force for observation squadrons. In 1944, the field was home primarily to B-24 heavy bombers. Then named Northern Field, it consisted of three 5,000-foot long runways, 100 barracks and other buildings, and gave support to 145,000 troops. Among other uses were training maneuvers by General George Patton’s 2nd Armored Division.
Over the many years, Runway 6/24 had deteriorated such that the runway was closed to air traffic. Jon Glass, Airport Manager, and the Airport Authority (chaired by General John Miller) wanted to re-open the runway and raise it to operational status, making it their primary runway.
The design team, headed by PDC Consultants, included John Agee, S&ME-Nashville Office, and Dr. Jim Hall, Applied Research Associates. The team studied numerous options available to rehabilitate the 66 year old concrete runway. After much design consideration and consultation with TDOT-Aeronautics Division and the FAA, the crack and seat method was selected as the rehabilitation method that would best provide an economical solution, meet the operational standards established by the Airport Authority, and provide a sound, long-lasting primary runway. This was the first application of this rehabilitation method at a general aviation airport in Tennessee.
PDC Consultants, LLC provided planning, civil engineering, and construction management services. S&ME provided the geotechnical investigation/construction testing services. Applied Research Associates (ARA) provided falling weight deflectometer testing and consultation for runway rehabilitation. Rogers Group, Inc. was the prime contractor on the project. The hard work performed by Rogers Group, Inc. coupled with the extensive coordination by all project team members resulted in the project being completed ahead of schedule and under budget.