How Runway Pavement Value Choices are Influenced by Construction Costs, Loading, Subgrade and Operational Considerations

Paper and Presentation by Justin Moss and Nicole Liang, How Runway Pavement Value Choices are Influenced by Construction Costs, Loading, Subgrade and Operational Considerations from ASCP 5th Concrete Pavements Conference 2019

In Australia, most runway pavements are constructed from asphalt, however the reverse is markedly true for the USA. Melbourne’s Essendon runway was originally concrete but was overlaid with thick asphalt many years ago. Asphalt runways at Melbourne’s Tullamarine and Amberley have some sections of concrete.

This paper explores the determination of optimal pavement type (asphalt and concrete pavements) in view of contemporary pricing of both products with reference to comparative construction costs, subgrade conditions and loading spectrum. It presents an assessment of current rigid and flexible pavement options for Australian airport runways comparing concrete (PCP-D) and asphalt-surfaced (flexible) pavements based on the US FAA guidelines. The work shows that concrete pavements deliver lower life cycle costs below 4% characteristic CBR subgrade support, whilst asphalt pavements realise lower life cycle costs above 4%. The work also demonstrates that this break-even point varies between 3 and 4.5% CBR across the spectrum traffic experienced on various Australian airports.

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