Being a mountainous state, Colorado has somewhat unique issues with its airports. The “Mile High” city of Denver (5280-ft above sea level) has Denver International Airport (Code: DEN) which is more than a mile high at 5,434-ft. elevation. Denver is rated the third-busiest airport in the world and United States.
DEN also has one of the most efficient runway layouts in the United States, with six, non-intersecting runways, five of which measure 12,000-ft. in length. The sixth (16R/34L) is 16,000-ft. long, the longest in the U.S. While the Denver area is noted more for its winters and low temperatures (as much as -10 degrees), the long runway is often needed in the summer when temperatures can reach 100 degrees.
This is a condition known as “hot and high” in piloting, when temperatures are hot, and the elevation is high. Air density decreases with increasing temperature and altitude, reducing the power output from the aircraft’s engine and requiring a higher true airspeed for takeoff. A heavily loaded airliner or cargo aircraft will need most of those 16,000 feet of concrete under those conditions.
The airfield contains a total of about 6 million square yards of concrete among 15,000 individual concrete panels. The average panel size is about 20-sq.ft., and the airport has a comprehensive pavement management system that tracks the lifespan for each panel, resulting in the ability to replace individual panels rather than entire areas of the airfield at once
Denver recently undertook an extensive program to expand and upgrade the terminal facility. The projects in the HTC (Hotel and Transit Center) included the expansion of the terminal facilities to the south, a 500-room hotel and conference center, a commuter rail station, a signature commuter rail bridge at the terminus of a commuter rail line that connects the Airport to downtown Denver, and an open-air plaza space that includes new concessions and other leasable space.
Jviation, a Woolpert company, was a subconsultant to the program manager and was responsible for the overall site civil aspects of the project. Jviation serves general aviation and commercial service airports, state aeronautics departments, as well as airline and related aviation business partners. Their staff directed survey, geotechnical analysis, and other efforts in order to determine the existing conditions at the site. This information was combined with existing data to develop a comprehensive data set for all design efforts.
An extensive analysis of the existing utility infrastructure serving the area, as well as the future utility needs as the site is developed. In addition to standard wet and dry utilities (power, water, sewer, storm drainage, gas, and communications), a thorough drainage analysis of the site was performed to determine sizing of storm drain lines and detention areas. In addition to a comprehensive report, GIS layers of existing conditions were generated.
The company also designed a large apron expansion, as well as the extension of Taxiway K. Some 24 different aircraft parking layout options were considered to best suit the immediate and future needs of the airlines and airport operations. Besides selecting the most efficient and safe aircraft parking layout, the alternatives evaluated different options for Vehicle Service Roads, locations for snow melting equipment, and a dedicated deicing area for Great Lakes’ Embraer EMB-120 and Beechcraft 1900D aircraft.
The project included the design of a Multi-Use Pad for hardstand/Remain Overnight parking for up to three Boeing 757-sized aircraft. Depending on the needs of the airport, the pad can also be used as a snow dump or Ground Service Equipment parking area.
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