The McCurtain County Regional Airport is classified in the top tier of airports in the Oklahoma Airport System Plan (OASP) as a “jet capable” Regional Business (RB) Airport. It is the goal of the OASP to provide full parallel taxiways at RB airports. For several years however, aircraft operated at the McCurtain County Regional Airport (MCRA) without even a partial parallel taxiway. As a result, landing aircraft at MCRA needed to make a cautious 360-degree turn and back-taxi on the runway to navigate to the parking apron. Back-taxiing on an active runway is risky and fraught with danger as there may be other aircraft coming in to land on the runway at the same time. To remedy this, KSA was engaged to design a new asphalt parallel taxiway which is located along the east side of Runway 2-20. Due to funding limitations, even though KSA had completed the design of the entire taxiway, construction was divided into two separate projects, the north side and the south side. The north side was constructed, while the south side was proposed to be constructed at a later date.
Before design began, KSA prepared the required administrative documents to assist the city in obtaining grants from the FAA and the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, who were funding the project. The documentation consisted of filing and obtaining airspacing of the construction project, preparing the required sponsor certifications and performing environmental coordination. The environmental coordination led to a finding of impact on the American Burying Beetle, as well as concern about the potential for adverse impact on tribal lands. KSA worked with the FAA and the environmental resource agencies to satisfactorily demonstrate that construction of the taxiway would not cause any environmental impacts.
Construction of the project was not without challenges. Quantifying rock in subsurface materials is usually a very difficult task. This was made more difficult because of limitations created by established procedures and FAA advisory circulars. The FAA allows a limited number of borings to investigate and characterize the subsurface conditions. As a result, even though the details collected by KSA’s extensive subsurface investigation predicted hard stata below the taxiway alignment, it was challenging to accurately predict the quantity of rock removal required. When the excavation actually began, the construction team encountered a significant quantity of rock that had the potential to affect the project budget. KSA’s engineers stepped up to the challenge and tweaked the design to control costs and keep the project within budget. KSA’s engineers spared no effort and evaluated multiple alignments of the taxiway in order to minimize the quantity of rock required to be excavated. The end result was a cost-effective alignment that allowed the project to be completed under budget.
KSA understands that airport construction funds are limited, so we will go the extra mile to provide good, cost effective designs that are constructible and that deliver the functionality the airport desires, at a minimum cost. In order to ensure constructability, KSA used experienced and highly qualified resident project representatives as part of the final design team. Though the project was challenging, the end result is immensely satisfying and is being used every day by aircraft operating from the airport. The partial parallel taxiway constructed provides a secure pathway for aircraft to use while taxing to the parking apron after landing. Completing the full parallel taxiway will improve safety of all aircraft operations at the airport; KSA stands ready to support the City of Idabel in this endeavor.
Key KSA Contact
Vivek Khanna, P.E., PhD
City of Idabel
Start: April 2011
End: Feb 2015
Start: July 2013
End: April 2015
North side: 35 feet wide, 2,550 linear feet long
South side: 35 feet wide, 2,600 linear feet long