Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport Engineer’s Study and Design

Location Wichita, Kansas

Owner Wichita Airport Authority

Client Wichita Airport Authority

  • Pavement Evaluation/Design
  • Airport Electrical Vault Improvements
  • Airport Design Report
  • Airport Pavement Management Plan
  • Cost Estimate Development

The Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport enplanes more than 1.6 million passengers and accommodates over 110,000 takeoffs and landings annually. The airport is home to a variety of tenants, consisting of commercial airline and cargo operators, aircraft manufacturing companies, and corporate and general aviation users. As a result of the airport’s heavy day‐to‐day operations, the pavement on Runway 1L‐19R, Runway 1R‐19L, taxiways, and apron needed rehabilitation to extend its service life. The electrical system for both runways also needed to be replaced due to the overall age of the system. The Wichita Airport Authority hired Lochner to assess the current pavement and electrical system conditions and provide alternatives and cost estimates in an engineer’s study. Lochner was then selected to provide design for the preferred alternative as well as evaluate the change in designations for Runways 1L‐19R, 1R‐19L, and 14‐32. The firm is also providing construction phase services.

To determine the condition of the airfield pavements, Lochner oversaw geotechnical and pavement investigations and the performance of a petrographic analysis to detect alkali‐silica reactivity. The firm also defined pavement requirements using the FAA FAARFIELD design program, which gave insight into the types of aircraft operating at the airport, their respective takeoff weights and number of annual departures, annual aircraft growth rates, and the strength of the existing soils.

From this data, Lochner developed multiple pavement rehabilitation alternatives, allowing the Wichita Airport Authority to prioritize pavement improvements for specific locations based on need. The first option was a minor pavement rehabilitation option, consisting of restoring the pavement surface and/or repairing or replacing partially and completely failed panels without reconstructing extensive sections of the existing pavement. The second option was a combination of maintenance as well as performing minor reconstruction of the Runway 1L‐19R center keel section and the eastern 50’ of Runway 1R‐19L. The third option considered a full reconstruction of the airfield pavement areas. Lochner then conducted a life‐cycle cost analysis to evaluate the initial construction costs based on estimated 2019‐unit prices as well as the maintenance costs for each alternative based on a recommended maintenance schedule that would be considered typical for the different pavement types (concrete vs. asphalt).

To address the age of the airport’s lighting system along Runway 1L‐19R and Runway 1R‐19L, Lochner evaluated the overall condition of the airfield electrical vault primary power service; the airfield lighting control and monitoring system (ALCMS); the runway edge and threshold lighting as well as guidance sign systems for both runways; and Runway 1L‐19R’s centerline and touchdown zone lighting systems. As a result, Lochner recommended LED signs and centerline and touchdown zone lights to provide energy savings and lower maintenance cost. Lochner also proposed LED high-intensity runway edge lights, an innovative replacement to the existing system that was approved for use on high-intensity systems by the FAA in 2019.

Based on Lochner’s engineering study, the Wichita Airport Authority chose to move forward with Lochner’s minor pavement rehabilitation option for Runways 1L‐19R and 1R‐19L. Lochner was also tasked with addressing the re‐designations of the airport’s major runways—1L‐19R, 1R‐19L, and 14‐32, whose designations had shifted to 2L‐20R, 2R‐20L, and 15‐33 respectively—as a result of magnetic north’s continual variance.

These designations are published in the FAA’s Airport Facilities Directory on a regular basis; thus, changing them as part of the project required the end of construction to coincide with the directory’s publication date and had to be coordinated at least a year in advance. To accomplish this, Lochner worked extensively with the Wichita Airport Authority and the FAA Flight Procedures Office to ensure the project would meet its target deadline.

Lochner also needed to prepare a set of detailed construction safety and phasing plans, which outlined the proposed airfield improvements and the sequence of subphases necessary to complete the project while maintaining safety, adhering to the required FAA design criteria, and minimizing operational impacts to the airport and its airlines, cargo operators, and tenants. As part of the plan development, Lochner hosted a series of meetings and presentations with the Wichita Airport Authority Engineering and Operations Divisions, FAA ATCT and Technical Operations personnel, and on‐site aircraft manufacturers. The team first held several working meetings that resulted in developing an inclusive framework of the phasing plans. They then fine‐tuned these plans, returning to the airport to brief the various users on each revision. During this time, Lochner coordinated more than three individual presentations to each of the various groups, which resulted in five major proposed phases with 18 subphases.

Towards the end of the design process, the Wichita Airport Authority was notified by the FAA that they were the recipient of supplemental discretionary funding to reconstruct Runway 1L‐19R’s 50‐foot center keel section. The Wichita Airport Authority was planning to rehabilitate this section of pavement, so the influx of new funding meant the design plans needed to be revised to incorporate this additional work without significantly impeding the bidding schedule that had been previously established by the FAA. Under this constraint, Lochner redesigned the 50‐foot keel section in less than six weeks, allowing the Wichita Airport Authority to make use of the supplemental FAA funding. As a result of this additional work, the construction safety and phasing plans were also revised to account for the change in scope, and the corresponding publication dates of the new runway designations in the FAA’s Airport Facilities Directory adjusted to align with the anticipated final completion dates for the respective phases of construction.

Lochner is providing construction phase services, which includes construction management, observation, and materials testing oversight.

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