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Palm Beach International Airport
Road Dryer keeps job on track. allows contractor to avoid penalties

Community Asphalt Corporation completed a $10 million runway resurfacing job at Palm Beach International Airport with support from the Road Dryer RD-1200 in 2012. This busy airport serves over 5 million passengers per year. It has three major runways, 28 gates and is home to more than 100 aircraft. The major runways alone account for almost 3 million square feet of asphalt surface, before adding the usual maze of junctions, taxiways, gate areas, hangars, etc.

RD-1200 Supporting Main Runway Resurfacing at PBI in Florida

Community Asphalt took on the challenge of rehabilitating the largest of the three runways. The project was mandated in order to maintain safety standards. The job required milling, drying and paving in less than three months. Due to high traffic seven days per week, airport officials demanded that the work be performed exclusively between the hours of 11 pm and 6 am. These restrictions had strict fines (liquidated damages) attached for violations or failure to complete on time.

PROBLEM 1: The milling machines had to dig two inches (5cm) deep to mill the old runway surface. During this process, a great deal of heat is being generated requiring large quantities of water to cool the cutter teeth. Excess water tends to pool behind the milling machine and has nowhere to go. The problem is worse at night when it is cooler and there is no sun to help evaporation. Community Asphalt paving superintendent, Mike Denatie, commented, “It is almost impossible to dry up a milled surface with just brooms. The milled surface is grooved and water gets trapped. We used to sweep it numerous times before we would get it dry. It was labor intensive and you’re losing precious time.”

PROBLEM 2: During the summer months in Florida, unexpected thunderstorms and rain showers crop up quickly and can shut down a paving crew with little warning. Even a brief shower can cause hours of delay, because surfaces become too wet to pave. On a job like this, with tight time limitations and penalties for late or non-completion, weather delays can turn costly in a heartbeat. Community Asphalt’s project manager on the airport project, Ariel Gomez said, “If there’s down time from rain, we have to pay LD’s (liquid damages). We have to pay for equipment and labor hours. Delays mean big money, BIG MONEY, especially on a job like this."

SOLUTION: Instead of using brooms to follow behind the milling machines, Community Asphalt rented a Road Dryer RD-1200. The machine uses high velocity, pre-heated air to dry the milled asphalt and to raise the surface temperature by 30 degrees (in preparation for repaving. Superintendent Denatie states, “I’ve used the Road Dryer to dry 2000 foot (600 meter) sections in about an hour completely dry and ready to pave. Without the Road Dryer we would have people and equipment waiting costing us precious time and money.”

The Palm Beach International Airport project was completed successfully by Community Asphalt within the allotted 3 month window, and airport officials were extremely satisfied with the end result.

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Last Updated May 17, 2015.