North Ramp Pavement Evaluation/Rehabilitation?Houston Intercontinental Airport

by Harvey J. Treybig, Huntingdon/Austin Research Engineers, Austin, United States,
Adil Godiwalla, Huntingdon/Austin Research Engineers, Austin, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Airport Pavement Innovations?Theory to Practice


The North Ramp at Houston's Intercontinental Airport is approximately 23 years old and serves Terminals A and B and also serves as a primary taxiway. Prior to having the new international terminal and Continental Airlines having its own terminal, it served these two major functions. Therefore, it has served not only many aircraft but large ones as well. The paper synopsizes a major field investigation making use of modern pavement evaluation techniques including deflection (Falling Weight Deflectometer) testing, ground penetrating radar, pavement condition inventory and conventional pavement cores and soil borings. The evaluation relates the in-place existing condition to the past use by the means described. The pavement distress patterns on the ramp were found to be directly related to the primary aircraft taxiing patterns. An extensive water problem under the pavement was revealed by the radar survey and validated by the core and boring process. Generally, areas with more water in the pavement exhibited more distress. From the deflection testing it was apparent that the load transfer of the joints in the taxilanes was less at the doweled than the undoweled contraction joints. This might infer a wear out of the dowels. Just the opposite was found in the nontaxilane areas of the ramp. In these areas, the doweled joints exhibited better load transfer efficiency than did the undoweled joints. The initial intent was to develop a rehabilitation plan to bring the pavement PCI to a minimum of 85. This intent was achieved, but due to the extensive past panel replacements as well as other issues that arose it was prudent to do a staged reconstruction. A select few alternative reconstruction designs were prepared and life cycle strategies formulated for each. From the present worth analysis, pavement reconstruction recommendations were developed for final design. The designs developed were prepared using both elastic layered theory based design techniques as well as the FAA design procedure, as this was a federally funded construction project.

Subject Headings: Airport and airfield pavements | Pavement deflection | Pavement design | Pavement condition | Concrete pavements | Joints | Construction management | Texas | United States

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