The Construction Challenges

by Jerry W. Marty, Constr. Proj. Mgr.; South Pole Modernization Proj., Natl. Sci. Foundation's Ofc. of Polar Programs, Arlington, VA,


Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2000, Vol. 70, Issue 12, Pg. 46-49,74


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: The varied SPRP construction and construction management complexities of the new South Pole are even more challenging because summer work must be carried out within a compressed window of time—from around November 1 to February 15, approximately 110 days. Within this time frame, the majority of all work must be planned for and completed in order to benefit from the 24 hours of sunlight and an average temperature of 56°F (-49 degrees Celsius). To maximize productivity during this period, three construction shifts are scheduled within each 24-hour period, with a six-day working week. The current facility at the South Pole was designed to support 16 persons during the winter, but the summer population has reached a total of 150 persons, including construction and maintenance personnel. To further complicate matters, the U.S. government has mandated that the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) continue its scientific research at the existing South Pole Station while work on the new station continues. Each phase of the SPRP is to be incorporated seamlessly into the multiyear construction effort. In addition, the size and performance limitations of the airplanes and transport vehicles that can use the airfield at the South Pole create a serious constraint on the size of materials that can be brought in, with weight being a secondary constraint. This is addressed by scheduling frequent-turnaround flights and requiring all prefabricated construction components as well as raw materials to conform to these size restrictions. Scheduling and productivity are also affected by the number of ski-equipped aircraft available and the demands placed upon them by other research locations in Antarctica.

Subject Headings: Cold weather construction | Antarctic | Cold weather operations | Freight transportation

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