You can’t have an airport without a place to park airplanes, and that’s what Phase III of the Wichita Falls Regional Airport construction project will address.
Rodney Martin, chief operating officer and project manager for Wichita Falls-based Trinity Hughes Construction, said Monday Phase III work includes airfield fencing, paving the apron where commercial aircraft will park, airfield lighting, earthwork, underground utilities, demolition of the existing terminal, airfield revegetation and airfield striping. When the project was bid, it was divided into three stages, he said, and the final stage includes all of the remaining projects.
“Phase III is pretty much just picking up all of the loose ends that were left out there in order to complete the GMP, the Guaranteed Maximum Price for this project,” he said.
Related: See a time lapsed video of construction at the Wichita Falls Municipal Airport
Bob Aniol, general superintendent from Tempe, Ariz.-based Sundt Construction Inc., a joint partner in the venture, put it in simpler terms.
“It lets the plane come to the building,” he said of the remaining work to be done. “That’s it in a nutshell.”
The Wichita Falls City Council will vote today on continuing with the two companies as the Contract Managers at Risk for the project. Martin said they will begin work to identify contractors for the final projects pending council’s approval.
Phase III work should begin in early June. The WFRA project should be complete just in time for the holiday season later this year.
Aniol said the most time intensive piece of Phase III will be the preparation for the airports apron.
“The earthwork and utility work takes a good chunk of time,” he said. “When the paving operation happens it’s a pretty slick operation.”
Martin added the new apron will not be a traditional parking lot type of paving. He said a special concrete that meets Federal Aviation Administration standards and can handle the weight of commmerical aircraft is needed for the airplane parking area.
Concrete for the project will be made on-site using specialized equipment.
Martin said a unique challenge to the final phase of airport construction is ensuring airfield security with a temporary security fence as well as keeping debris from getting into the airfield, a potential hazard for military and civilian aircraft.
“That’s basically the biggest obstacle when doing something on the airfield side,” he said, “making sure that we don’t do anything that disrupts Sheppard’s operations or the FAA’s operations.”
Construction on the airport began in November 2012. Phase I of the project included building an entry road and parking lot and was completed in March 2013. Phase II includes the terminal building and staff and rental car parking.
The men said work is progressing well and there isn’t anything at the time that would get them off schedule.