An airport runway is essentially just a giant parking lot, right? Not quite. Because of the extreme weight of airplanes and the massive force they exert, airport runways have to be crafted with high-quality surface finishes and enough strength that they won’t buckle and crack under the weight of the airplanes. So, how do airport contractors create such a strong surface? Read on to find out!
First, the right materials must be chosen to create the airport runway. This is decided before the airport contractors are even involved. The plans for the new runway begin years before the runway is actually built! The airport designers will choose what materials the runway should be constructed of based on samples of the subbase that will support the runway. Either asphalt, concrete, or a mixture of both will be used to create the runway. Asphalt is the runway material of choice for many smaller airports, since it is easy to work with and to replace when the time comes.
The pavement of an airport runway has to be specialized to withstand the thousands of pounds that airplanes weigh. In order to do this, the airport contractors will make the pavement thicker than they normally would for a regular highway. This varies from airport to airport, depending on how heavy the planes are and how often they use the runway. This thickness, including the subgrade, can range from anywhere between 10 inches to 4 feet! After the pavement has been laid, the surface is grooved to improve water drainage and prevent hydroplaning.
After a runway has been finished, it should last for 20-30 years before it needs repaved! The airport maintains its runway by routinely checking for cracks, debris, and any other potential problems so that they can be fixed right away. When it’s finally time for a new runway to be built, many airports choose to have the new runway installed in sections so that the airport can remain partially functional during the time of construction. When the new runway is finished, it’s ready to take on the weight of airplanes 24/7, year round!
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Reliable Contracting Company serves the following and surrounding counties: Annapolis, Queen Anne’s, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Howard, Prince George, St. Mary’s, Talbot, and Washington D.C.