While programmed for reconstruction in the future, the City of Charlotte Aviation Department had identified the need to rehabilitate Runway 18L-36R in order to maintain its existing condition and extend the useful life. Although Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) has two other north-south runways, this runway is critical to American Airlines’ flight schedule and to the entire air traffic system. Runway 18L-36R is an 8,674-foot by 150-foot CAT III ILS runway and delays at CLT are felt along the entire north-south air traffic corridor.
Delta was tasked with identifying cost-effective rehabilitation options to preserve the 7,674-foot asphalt section of the runway. In addition to being cost-effective, the rehabilitation needed to be completed during nightly closures of the runway as complete closures are not possible with the airline operations. To determine the pavement rehabilitation options, the Delta team eschewed a “one size fits all” approach in lieu of tailored rehabilitation sections for the runway and each connector taxiway. Pavement boring and cross section information was used to develop a custom mill and overlay thickness (“mill and fill”) in order to maximize the project budget. This design included multiple sections for the runway itself, as well as several taxiway sections.
The runway and taxiway rehabilitation requires approximately 140,000 square yards of 3, 4, and 6-inch pavement milling along with 41,000 tons of P-401 Bituminous Surface Course. The “mill and fill” also requires the nightly adjustment of the existing in-pavement runway centerline and touchdown zone lights to maintain CAT III operations. In order to correct current non-standard runway safety area grades, the project includes the demolition of existing Taxiway C7. Similar to the runway milling and paving, the 12,800 square yards of asphalt and concrete pavement removal will be completed during nightly closures of the runway.
The construction phasing was critical to the project and CLT. In order to minimize impacts to CLT and the airlines, the work was coordinated to be completed at night between the hours of 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. It will be critical to reopen the runway by 7:00 a.m. each morning to accommodate the early airline push for CLT’s peaked bank structure.
The project is currently under construction and will be complete in Summer 2020.