Design of the Future Mexico City Airport: Attaining Resilience in Soft Ground

by Kirk Ellison, P.E., Ph.D., (M.ASCE), Senior Engineer; Arup, San Francisco, CA, kirk.ellison@arup.com,
Nick O'Riordan, G.E., Ph.D., (M.ASCE), Arup Fellow; Arup, London, nick.oriordan@arup.com,
Ibbi Almufti, P.E., (M.ASCE), Associate; Arup, San Francisco, CA, ibrahim.almufti@arup.com,
, P.E.

Serial Information: Geo-Strata —Geo Institute of ASCE, 2018, Vol. 22, Issue 2, Pg. 50-57


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: The Lake Texcoco region to the east of Mexico City is famed for its deep lacustrine deposits of compressible clay, which amplify ground shaking during seismic events. The area is also gradually subsiding approximately 18 cm/yr due to groundwater extraction; thus, the site's geotechnical characteristics change over time. Although its poor soil conditions make the Texcoco lakebed one of the most challenging locations on Earth to build on, it will soon become the site of one of the world's largest airports: the Nuevo Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México (NAICM). Phase I of this massive infrastructure project is scheduled to open in late 2020 and will consist of three runways, an 89-m-high air traffic control tower (ATCT), and a 1.6-km-long by 0.5-km wide terminal building. The terminal building, the ATCT, and surrounding runways and taxiways have been designed for a 75-year service life. In planning for this service life, all project teams had to assess a wide range of conditions that could result from the gradual regional subsidence and the compressibility of the soft ground. These design concerns required a robust understanding of the soil's unique composition, the regional seismicity, and both the static and dynamic behavior of Mexico City clays.

Subject Headings: Soft soils | Seismic design | Soil properties | Developing countries | Airport and airfield pavements | Air traffic control | Soil compression | Clays | Mexico City

 

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