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Clinton National Airport Runway 4R

Runway Extension Creates Quieter Neighborhoods

In 2005, the beat of construction began at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, and Garver kept in harmony the many engineering aspects that blended together to complete the Runway 4R-22L Extension Project.

Garver performed planning, design, surveys, and construction administration and observation for the 1,050-foot extension to Runway 4R which restored the noise mitigation program. The multifarious project required coordination with more than a dozen agencies including the Little Rock Airport Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, Little Rock District Corps of Engineers , City of Little Rock, Entergy, Little Rock Wastewater, Central Arkansas Water, and the Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department.

"This project consisted of a lot of concrete, a lot of dirt and a lot of coordination," said Garver Project Manager Frank McIllwain.

Besides extending the south end of the runway, the project included relocation of an arterial and perimeter road, localizers, Medium Intensity Approach Lighting System, sanitary sewer force main, water lines, primary power lines and FAA communication lines, storm water drainage work and construction of a holding apron.

The extension was constructed to reduce unwanted environmental noise from takeoffs which unintentionally returned after Runway 4R's parallel Runway 4L-22R was lengthened in 1999.

Beginning in the early 1990s, pilots used Runway 4R for takeoffs and Runway 4L for landings to reduce noise levels over neighborhoods north of the airport.

However, in 1999, Runway 4L was extended 1,100 feet to accommodate takeoffs by larger aircraft during the summer months. Soon pilots began to prefer taking off from the newly extended runway rather than the shorter Runway 4R, ultimately negating the noise reduction advantages offered by 4R takeoffs.

"Now, with the extension to 4R, the runways will be comparable in length and function as they were meant to—takeoffs on the right and landings on the left," McIllwain said.

Runway 4R reopened in February 2007 after being shut down since March 2006. The project consisted of 123,000 cubic yards of embankment construction, 52,000 cubic yards of excavation, 37,000 square yards of cement treated base and 35,000 square yards of 18-inch Portland cement treated base course.

In conjunction with the extension, crews performed the following work during two phases:

Roosevelt Road Relocation: Roosevelt Road is an arterial city street connecting the airport to adjacent industrial areas, and provides a distribution route along the airport's southern boundary. Approximately half a mile of Roosevelt Road was moved south to accommodate the extension. The project included the relocation of 660 feet of a 42-inch sanitary sewer force main (originally installed in 1980) which parallels the existing Fourche Creek levee, storm drainage improvements, construction of 2,300 feet of two-lane asphalt road with curb and gutter, pavement marking layout, and improved intersection lighting. Aircraft departing the extended runway now will be approximately 750 feet from vehicles on Roosevelt.

MSE Wall: An 830-foot Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) retaining wall along the south side of Roosevelt Road was designed to keep construction outside the Fourche Creek floodway and minimize environmental impacts. A second retaining wall along the east side of Bankhead Drive provides a 15-foot shoulder, increasing safety for vehicles traveling on Bankhead Drive adjacent to a detention pond.

MALSR Relocation: The first three Medium-Intensity Approach Lighting System stations now are in-pavement lights, a first for Arkansas airports.

"Normally the MALSR stations are elevated prior to the threshold," said Pat Sellars, Airport Director of Facilities. "In this case, the threshold remained exactly where it was located for arrivals. With the first 1,100 feet of surface prior to the threshold available for a 4R takeoff, the MALSR approach lights had to be placed in the pavement."

The MASLR light stations between the end of the runway pavement and Roosevelt Road were frangible mounted.

Holding Apron: A new south-side holding apron was included in the project to allow air carrier aircraft to hold and pass while waiting for takeoffs, increasing the runway's capacity. The apron was sized to allow D-IV aircraft (Wingspans measuring from 118-170 feet) to hold and bypass simultaneously.

Localizer Relocation: The localizer to the Runway 22L approach was converted to a 1.9-degree offset localizer to remove jet blast and critical area conflicts. The angle placement ensures that no part of the critical area overlaps the perimeter road.

Construction Observation: Garver performed more than 3,000 hours of observation.

"There was three to four years of work under numerous projects," said Billy Yates, who performed most of the construction observation. "There was a lot to watch and coordinate. There were times we had $6 million to $8 million worth of work happening simultaneously and spread out over the east side of the airport. We were watching over four to five crews with 40 to 50 men including earthwork crews, electrical crews, crews placing concrete and crews relocating utilities. There was a lot of running around at this job to keep up with all they were doing.

"This was a massive project to oversee, and as a construction observer, my responsibility was to serve as the client's agent, giving them confidence that their facilities were being constructed as designed," Yates concluded.

 
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