Purdue University Runway Rehab and Airfield Signage Improvements


Purdue University operates the second busiest airport in Indiana. Between routine wear and tear on the primary runway, outdated airfield signage, requests to land larger aircraft and negative impacts on the maintenance budget, the Part 139 Purdue University Airport needed assistance. Woolpert was retained, as part of ongoing, on-call planning and engineering services, to conduct design studies, complete the runway rehabilitation design, and bid and construct the project.

Woolpert reached out to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), an expert in designing thin pavements capable of bearing heavy loads. INDOT’s Roadway Testing Laboratory provided non-destructive testing (NDT) equipment and design support (at no cost to the airport) to collaborate with Woolpert in a study of effective pavement remediation.

The joint study concluded that while the asphalt and sub-base were in very good condition, the subgrade was very saturated and yielding. Ultimately, it was recommended to reconstruct the runway shoulders, install new underdrains, upgrade all airfield signs to light emitting diodes (LED), and approve a temporary, shortened runway to service the airport during construction.

Woolpert phased the project into two components: (1) runway intersection with airfield signage and taxiway improvements and (2) remaining runway rehabilitation work. The runway intersection and airfield lighting work was completed in 2016, two days ahead of schedule and approximately $300,000 below the construction award; the remaining runway work was completed in 2017.

Woolpert delivered this project on time and within budget, due in part to the integration of NDT testing. This innovative approach saved design costs while uncovering alternative solutions for sustainable designs with reduced construction closures and costs.

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN