Apron project combines function with environmental friendliness

Congratulations to Indy South Greenwood Airport for recently receiving this year’s Airport of the Year award from Aviation Indiana! Hanson appreciates the opportunities we’ve had to work with the outstanding team at Indy South Greenwood, particularly the most recent project: an apron expansion.

Indy South Greenwood’s 5,000-foot runway, which has increased in length over the years to accommodate the growing business and general aviation needs of Greenwood, Johnson County and metropolitan Indianapolis, has outgrown the airport’s often-congested terminal apron. Working with NGC Aviation Consultants, Hanson designed an expansion of the apron and obtained the necessary building and floodway permits and mitigation.

Photo courtesy of Indy South Greenwood Airport

Uncommon environmental challenge

The expanded apron will sit over Pleasant Creek, which flows across the airport’s property. The creek’s presence prompted an environmental assessment (EA) that reviewed the need for an enclosure around part of the stream. Recognizing the floodplain, stream and wetland permitting and mitigation needed to expand the apron, Hanson initiated coordination with federal and state agencies, including the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, during the environmental study and prepared preliminary hydraulic and hydrology modeling. When the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) review of the EA extended longer than expected in 2020, Hanson advocated for the airport to keep its 2020 Airport Improvement Program funding to start the design. Hanson also provided the city of Greenwood’s Board of Aviation Commissioners with design and additional modeling for the Johnson County Drainage Board and city land disturbance permits.

“The apron expansion has been a much-needed project,” said Indy South Greenwood Airport Manager Rick Ferrill. “It will create more room for aircraft to park while providing a safer environment for aircraft movement.”

The first phase of construction, which could begin as early as this fall, is funded by Airport Improvement Program and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law grants and the city of Greenwood. The expanded apron will relieve the congestion caused by increasing numbers of planes moving in and out of the area.

“This has been a unique project,” said Aviation Planning Lead Susan Zellers, who served as Hanson’s project manager for the design and environmental work. “You don’t often build an apron over a creek.”

Prepared for the future

The project team also graded a portion of the apron to function as a deicing pad. Drainage in the deicing pad area will be directed to a separate drainage system and routed to the sanitary sewer system to treat the deicing materials.

“In the process of accommodating the creek, we were able to give the airport an opportunity to begin offering deicing services to some of its corporate clients, if they desire, and to expand that service later, if they choose, and in an environmentally friendly manner,” Susan said.

Hanson’s past work at Indy South Greenwood includes assisting with obtaining FAA airspace approval to construct a corporate hangar facility and designing the facility’s water and sewer lines.

“This project doesn’t just benefit airport operations,” Rick said. “It also benefits the multiple businesses on the field and the corporate traffic that uses the ramp for daily business.”

Susan Zellers is a senior project manager and Hanson’s aviation planning lead. She can be reached at szellers@hanson-inc.com.