We Know Airport Infrastructure: Phased Work Cuts Downtime

Upgrades at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport will better accommodate larger aircraft and more passengers.

High-impact airport infrastructure upgrade projects have to balance necessary renovations against service downtime. To keep planes flying while important work goes forward, a runway upgrade at Pennsylvania’s Arnold Palmer Regional Airport will take a phased approach toward the goal of accommodating larger aircraft, meeting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines, and better serving passengers.

Detailed in a recent Tribune-Review article, upgrade work at Arnold Palmer Regional gets underway as the facility approaches its two-millionth passenger milestone. GAI’s Aviation team is designing the phased runway upgrade, as well as helping the facility secure FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and Pennsylvania Bureau of Aviation grants, which help fund necessary airport infrastructure work.

Arnold Palmer Regional Airport

Building more robust airport infrastructure

“The project is going to consist of widening the runway from 100 feet to 150 feet and overlaying the runway with asphalt to provide additional strength,” said Raena Lindemuth, PE, GAI Engineering Manager. GAI is acting as primary consultant for the runway renovation, which also includes reconfiguring the airport’s connector taxiways to better meet FAA standards.

Arnold Palmer Regional currently handles commercial jet traffic from Spirit Airlines and charter services. “The airport has grown significantly over the last few years in terms of enplanements and also the size of aircraft the facility handles—so the airport infrastructure now needs upgrading to keep pace,” said Lindemuth.

The widening of the runway to 150 feet will provide a cushion to allow larger aircraft to land safely with higher crosswinds. Components of GAI’s project design include grading, paving, markings, drainage, and relocated runway edge lighting.

“We’ll prepare the bid package for the project and assist the owner in reviewing the bids and deciding how to proceed,” said Scott Kunselman, PE, GAI Engineering Director, Aviation. “We’re also helping the facility secure grant funding for the project from the FAA and Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Aviation.” (See: Filling Airport Infrastructure Funding Gaps)

Phased approach minimizes air traffic interruption

Arnold Palmer Regional has an 8,222-foot runway. The phased approach to the runway widening project is designed to allow air traffic to proceed with minimal interruption while work is underway.

Arnold Palmer Regional Airport

“First, we’ll close one end of the runway, leaving enough length available to accommodate usual takeoffs and landings. The following phase will close the opposite end while the work is done,” said Lindemuth. “The whole project is designed to help keep the airport’s commercial and charter air traffic flowing.”

Following phases of the upgrade will include reconfiguring the facility’s taxiways, applying a strengthening layer of asphalt to the entire runway surface, and optimizing the facility’s runway and taxiway markings and signage.

Experience + trust adds value and powers project results

A range of specialists from GAI’s DuBois, PA and Orlando and Tampa, FL locations will collaborate on the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport infrastructure project. “Most of the GAI staff on this project have more than 10 years’ experience in aviation engineering,” said Lindemuth.

“We also have a long history of working with Arnold Palmer Regional,” said Kunselman. “We’ve been working at this airport since the mid-1970’s—so we’re very familiar with how the airport infrastructure is laid out, how it was constructed, and we have all the records from previous projects. We have a trusted relationship with the people who operate the airport, and we see all that knowledge and background coming together to the benefit of the client and the work ahead.”

Contact Scott Kunselman, PE, 814.299.4691, or Raena Lindemuth, PE, 814.299.4705, for more information about GAI’s airport infrastructure design and funding consultation services.

Scott KunselmanScott Kunselman, PE specializes in airport engineering and design. He has nearly three decades of engineering consulting experience, and has managed numerous design teams in successfully completing aviation projects. Scott’s project leadership experience includes design and management of asphalt taxiway, runway, and apron projects; master planning; new hangar construction; terminal access and parking projects; and more. Scott has also developed successful working relationships with representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and Pennsylvania Bureau of Aviation (BOA).

Raena LindemuthRaena Lindemuth, PE specializes in airport engineering, roadway design, building and foundation design, and the preparation of stormwater management plans. She has 15 years of experience in engineering consulting, with the last five spent managing technical teams to complete project designs. Her experience includes design and management of runway rehabilitations, runway and taxiway extensions, road construction, parking lot construction, T-hangar construction, and miscellaneous airport drainage improvements.

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