Airport, Hanson work together to smooth transition for hangar tenants during construction delay

Some things are worth the wait, as Joliet Regional Airport officials and tenants learned in late May 2020, after a long winter in the northern Illinois city of Joliet. Their patience and perseverance paid off with the efficient completion of a two-phased, $1.5 million pavement reconstruction project that focused on upgrading the public-use airport’s taxiway and hangar areas.       

As the airport’s engineering consultant, Hanson provided an environmental review, design and construction-phase services for the project, which saw the start of its second phase of construction Oct. 7, 2019. A combination of early and persistent cold weather, as well as delays in obtaining necessary materials, put the project on a lengthy hiatus and prompted Hanson and the airport to form a creative and effective temporary solution. Although the airport’s traffic slows during the winter months, Hanson devised a plan to help hangar tenants ride out a monthslong stretch without permanent pavement.

An aggregate base had been placed before the drop in temperature that precluded the asphalt placement. Hanson worked with airport officials and the contractor to provide a series of temporary ramps, composed of compacted aggregate, and a safe surface on which to move aircraft into and out of the hangars while keeping the base course in place. When spring arrived and temperatures were sufficient to meet asphalt specifications, the contractor removed the temporary ramps and corrected surface irregularities. Hanson then approved the asphalt paving process, keeping airport officials informed, and the tenants maintained access to their aircraft.

To preserve the aggregate laid prior to the onset of cold temperatures, Hanson worked with airport officials, the contractor and affected airport tenants to provide a series of temporary ramps, composed of compacted aggregate, and a safe surface on which to move aircraft into and out of the associated hangars until asphalt could be laid in the spring.

Hanson’s role in the reconstruction also involved bringing the pavement up to current Federal Aviation Administration standards, relocating a significant number of utilities and a fuel tank and improving drainage by adding trench drains between the hangars. Construction resumed in early May, and Hanson worked with airport officials, the contractor and airport tenants to complete the work within two weeks.

Despite the project’s turbulent nature, airport officials were always sensitive to their tenants’ needs. The airport and the Hanson project team worked together to overcome each challenge and meet the needs of the hangar tenants to provide them continuity of service. 

Hanson Associate Project Manager Lindsay Hausman, P.E., served as the project design engineer and manager for the project, providing design services and managing project coordination. “Every project has unique challenges, and this one was no exception,” Lindsay said. “We were fortunate to have a great team from the airport and the contractor and were able to come up with solutions. At the end of the day, the airport and tenants are happy with the project, and that is what matters.”