The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority won
the Project of the Year award from the American Public Works
Association’s (APWA) San Diego/Imperial Chapter, for its Northside
Utilities Storm Drain Project at the San Diego International Airport.
The project installed over 8,000 feet of storm drain piping within the
airport operations area, including a micro tunnel bore beneath an
San Diego, California had a prominent start in aviation, serving as
the manufacturing and test flight grounds for Charles Lindbergh’s
Spirit of St. Louis. In 1927, he took off from San Diego with stops
in St. Louis and New York before his historic transatlantic flight to
Paris. Shortly thereafter on August 16, 1928, the City of San Diego
dedicated Lindbergh Field at the San Diego Municipal Airport. In
1942, the 8,750-foot runway was added to accommodate the heavy
bombers manufactured in San Diego that were departing for World
War II battle fronts. This runway made it one of the first airports
prepared for commercial jet airliners. It’s now the busiest single
runway airport in the nation.
Because the airport is only three miles from downtown San Diego
and is hemmed in by the San Diego Bay, Interstate 5 and the Marine
Corps Recruit Depot, space is at a premium. The airport authority
needed to improve its ability to capture and redirect storm runoff.
The plan designed by Kimley-Horn required a new pump station in
conjunction with new 35-inch gravity lines and 30-inch force mains
that would tie back into an existing 60-inch storm water line. All
work was to be completed either adjacent to or underneath the
active runway and taxiways. In addition, a 900 foot microtunnel
bore was needed to cross beneath one of the taxiways.
Orion Construction of Vista, California was awarded the project, and
elected to use Fusible PVC® pipe for several portions since it was
permitted for use wherever PVC was specified in the plans. A micro
tunnel boring machine crossed under the taxiway at a depth of 15
feet to install a 42-inch steel casing. A 30-inch Fusible PVC® pipe
was then fused in the same pit and pulled through as each joint was
completed. Casing spacers were added between the Fusible PVC®
carrier pipe and the steel casing as well as a low-density cellular grout
to lock the carrier in place.
The rest of the pipe was installed in open-cut trenches. Because the
Airport sits next to the San Diego Harbor at an average elevation
of 17 feet, managing the shallow water table was a constant
challenge. Additionally, while many of the existing utilities were
mapped, Orion Construction encountered several that were unknown.
Orion Construction again chose Fusible PVC® pipe for the portions
of the force main that required restrained joints. Orion used the
fully restrained, fusion-joined Fusible PVC® pipe joints instead of
expensive, metallic, mechanical restraint harnesses, which require
extensive protection in areas susceptible to corrosion.
Despite the active airfield work environment, high water table and
extensive utilities encountered, the project was very successful and
was awarded the APWA’s Project of the Year for 2016, in large part
because of the effective planning and communication between the
Airport Authority, Kimley-Horn and Orion Construction.
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