Summary

Challenge: When an airline proposed starting new service, OBPA was faced with an 18 month deadline to complete the planning, environmental permitting, design, and construction of a major airport expansion to accommodate the new service. The proposed service changed the design aircraft for the airport from a 9 seat Cessna 402 to a 177 seat Airbus A-320. A complex series of improvements included expansion of the terminal, 1200-foot runway extension, including realignment of NYS Route 68, expansion of the terminal apron, strengthening and extension of the parallel taxiway, expansion of the parking facilities, and obstruction removal. Start of the new service was a regionally important economic development initiative and was contingent on the proposed improvements being complete by Fall 2016.
Solution: Faced with this deadline, MJ prepared a detailed schedule of the key milestones from planning through ribbon cutting. The schedule was then evaluated to determine where work could be compressed and completed concurrently. For example, the planning, environmental permitting, and design processes were completed concurrently so that environmental approvals were obtained concurrent with the project bid opening.

The airfield improvements were carefully phased to assure that efficient construction. The phasing plan factored in unpredictable winter weather conditions prevalent in the North Country so that some construction could occur during the winter months. Relocation of NYS Route 68 also included relocation of a high-pressure gas transmission line along with power, cable, and telephone utilities. The airfield improvements included obstruction removal, drainage improvements, new runway and taxiway edge lighting systems, and new airfield guidance signs.

The terminal improvements included tripling the size of the existing terminal, and the redevelopment of the ticketing space, departure lounge, and baggage handling facilities. The terminal modifications were constructed around the TSA checkpoint, which was not modified. Although the passenger screening checkpoint is not ideally located within the terminal, relocating or modifying the checkpoint would have introduced unacceptable schedule risks due to TSA review timeframes. The terminal improvements were designed around the existing checkpoint to provide a functional terminal space. Retaining the TSA checkpoint without modification was a key strategy for completing the terminal project on schedule. The parking and passenger drop-off and pick-up facilities were completely redefined. The terminal project also included architectural improvements to convert a drab pre-fab metal hangar building to an attractive and functional terminal, without the schedule delays associated with more extensive improvements to the existing building shell.

Completion of a complex project on this compressed schedule required MJ to collaborate closely with numerous stakeholders that included the Sponsor, two airlines, TSA, FAA, regulatory agencies, NYS DOT, the gas line owner, and many others. The project was successfully completed on time, with the first flight occurring on schedule in October 2016.

This project demonstrates MJ’s ability to plan, permit, design and oversee construction of a complex high priority airport improvement project within an extremely compressed timeframe.

Awards

  • ACEC NY Engineering Excellence Award Silver in the Transportation Category
  • NYAMA Phil Brito Memorial Project of the Year Award