Airport wins award for $17.4 million apron construction

Charleston International Airport, in the throes of a $189 million makeover, recently picked up an award for its apron construction in 2013.

Charleston International Airport has concrete proof it’s an award winner.

The American Concrete Pavement Association recently awarded the gateway to the Lowcountry its “Excellence in Concrete Pavement” award for its $17.4 million apron expansion project in 2013.

Each year for the past quarter century, the group has honored quality concrete pavements constructed in the U.S. and Canada. The awards program encourages high-quality workmanship in concrete pavement projects and serves as a forum for sharing information about highly successful projects.

The terminal at Charleston International is surrounded by 543,600 square feet of new concrete. That’s equivalent to 12½ acres, or roughly the size of 10 football fields, not including the end zones.

Work was completed in October 2013 and has provided much-needed ramp space for aircraft refueling, servicing and maintenance and for other airport operations.

“The real success in this project is due to the cooperation of many agencies, including the airlines, Joint Base Charleston, Boeing and the FAA,” said John Connell, deputy director of airports for facilities at Charleston County Aviation Authority, which owns and operates the airport. “Without their assistance, cooperation and coordination, the work would not have been possible.”

The project, including lighting and taxiway signage, took 10 months to complete and was performed by McCarthy Improvement Co. of Davenport, Iowa. It was an integral part of the airport’s $189 million Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program, which is set for completion in November.

The apron had to be expanded because of the addition of five new gates on Concourse B. The work also allowed overnight parking of aircraft near Concourse A, according to airport spokeswoman Charlene Gunnells.

“This project was complicated because the airport remained operational at all times during construction, which occurred 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Greg Jones, a partner in ADC Engineering.

“The contractor was extremely cooperative and attentive to schedules and quality,” Jones said. “The airport staff was diligent in the supervision of airport users and the design team worked hand-in-hand with the contractor to methodically complete the project. These efforts resulted in a high-quality concrete apron, delivered on time, under budget and with no compromise to operations or safety.”

Funding for apron expansion is not part of the terminal redevelopment, which is being paid for by the airport. Apron money came from the FAA and the $4.50 passenger facility charge the airport levies on each outbound ticket.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or