Ardmore Airport Expansion

By Liz Moucka | September 28, 2010

Ardmore — that stop halfway between Oklahoma City and Dallas — has set its eye on the future. The Ardmore Development Authority is focusing on its proximity to both these southwestern commercial centers and its location on a major interstate artery to entice new commerce into its area. Just last October, Ardmore received designation as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ). Being located in an FTZ provides tax benefits to business and industry with facilities there, helping them compete in the global m arketplace.

Of Ardmore Regional Industrial Airpark's two runways (7,220 and 5,006 feet), the longer was sufficient to accommodate large commercial jets, yet the facility needed more capacity for the type of business that the Ardmore Development Authority had begun courting. The project to demolish the existing 7,220-foot runway and construct a new 9,000-foot runway was awarded to TTK Construction. When completed, the runway will be able to accommodate fully loaded 747 aircraft. Previously, any 747s were weight-restricted and primarily flew into Ardmore for maintenance at King Aerospace, an aircraft refurbishment firm that occupies four hangars at Ardmore Industrial Park, explained Wes Stucky, president and CEO of the Ardmore Development Authority.

Ardmore's plans for an Industrial Park adjacent to the airport have also taken root. A Dollar General Corporation distribution center is currently the largest resident, with 1.2 million square feet of warehouse space. East Jordan Iron Works, Inc. occupies 300,000 square feet. Other corporate facilities that have built large in and around Ardmore include Michelin's 1,500,000-square-foot tire plant and Best Buy's 750,000-square-foot distribution center.

Runway Demolition

TTK Construction Co. Inc. was contracted to remove the existing runway, move almost 2 million cubic yards of earth and construct a new runway at Ardmore Regional Industrial Airpark.

TTK used their Impactor 2000 (Impact Roller Technology) pulled by a Versatile 846 agricultural tractor to break the 7-inch-thick runway concrete — all 157,410 square yards of it. The Impactor 2000's 19,000-pound, cam-shaped drum delivers 30,000 psi of dynamic force for breaking. The pieces were picked up with a Komatsu PC300 and loaded into Caterpillar 740 articulated dump trucks.

In demolishing the 7,200-foot runway, TTK found it more economical to remove the concrete and reinforcing steel to an off-site stockpile. Clean aggregate for the base and concrete mix would then be hauled in from a source nearby in Davis, OK, for concrete batching onsite.

Giant Earthmoving Task

In order to meet production for earthmoving involved in leveling the runway zone, TTK project superintendent Willie Brown Jr. brought in a fleet of eight Caterpillar scrapers (5-631s and 3-621s) plus various sized dozers to push and assist the operation. "We averaged about 30,000 cubic yards per day," said Brown. The red sand indigenous to the area was not particularly difficult to excavate; however, at the north end of the project, about 30 feet had to be cut from the hillside, according to Brown.

There was very little balance to the earthmoving portion of the project. About 1,750,000 cubic yards of material, which meets "select borrow" criteria, was removed to stockpiles on adjacent property near the north end of the runway. Three Caterpillar 740 articulated trucks assisted in this endeavor. Earthmoving, which began February 11, 2008, was completed in November 2008, approximately 9 months later.

The clear zone area at the north end of the runway was shaped into a turn-around for the planes, a change in plans from the originally designed extra taxiway.

Due to the magnitude of earthwork, TTK owner Tim Duit outfitted their CMI 4503 trimmer and John Deere 772D motorgrader with GeoLogic GPS controls for the final grade. "This system allowed us to tie into our CMI trimmer," Duit explained. "Use of the GPS replaced the bulk of the staking. Because this was the first job we've done with GPS, we brought in our normal outside surveyor just to double check so there weren't any errors."

Building the Runway

As excavation continued near the north end of the runway, Brown had his paving crew busy on the south end. The subgrade for the 150-foot-wide runway is composed of 10 inches of soil-cement treated base. The 1.5-inch dowel bars on 12-inch centers reinforce the 15-inch-thick, 3,500-psi concrete pavement. TTK batched the concrete on site in a Con-E-Co 454L portable batch plant that averaged about 3,000 cubic yards per day at the peak of the project. Clean aggregate came from Martin Marietta in nearby Davis, OK, and Washita River sand was provided by Arbuckle Materials.

TTK utilized their CMI 6004 paver for the 150-foot-wide runway, paving 30-foot-wide sections in an alternating pattern. Their smaller CMI 3002 paver was used for other areas of the project, such as taxiways. In all, the project required approximately 175,000 square yards of paving.

Due to the excavation needed to bring the entire runway extention to grade, TTK had to relocate and lower the existing city water line that served the airport, according to Duit. Their crew installed 3,110 feet of new 36-inch steel water line, tying into the city line near the north end of the runway. Trenching with an excavator sufficed most of the distance, but a D8 dozer with ripper was needed to move through pockets of rock.

With striping now completed, Ardmore Industrial Airpark stands poised for growth. The economy is the primary factor now at issue. Stucky added, "We have recently opened an additional 1,000 acres that are served by streets and utilities at the Industrial Park."