Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport


Roadway Inbound Impovements
Reinforced Earth Product in Field
Location: 
Atlanta, Georgia
Owner: 
Georgia Dept. of Transportation
Contractor: 
C.W. Matthews Contracting Company, Inc.
Subcontractor: 
Bonn-J Contracting, Inc.
Precaster: 
The Reinforced Earth Company

When the City of Atlanta leased 287 acres of land for an airfield in 1925, no one imagined that in 2013 nearly 95 million passengers would pass through what became the world's busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson International.  Similarly, the inbound roadway system designers of the late 1970s could not have envisioned the doubling of automobile traffic that would clog airport entrance roadways some 30+ years later.  So to improve traffic flow and provide for the airport's continued growth, the Inbound Roadways Project was begun in 2013.

A complex undertaking scheduled for completion in January 2015, this major upgrade of the airport’s terminal roadway network extends southward from Camp Creek Parkway at I-85 to Riverdale Road at I-85. Design requirements include realigning and widening roadways, segregating conflicting traffic movements, minimizing weaving conditions, minimizing queuing and related delays, improving connections and access to/from various facilities, and upgrading signage.  To meet these requirements, contractors are realigning Airport Boulevard and its connections with North and South Terminal Parkway and are moving the airport entrance along Riverdale Road to the existing signalized intersection with Airport Boulevard.

New bridges are being built, old bridges are coming out, and multiple retaining walls, some topped by traffic barrier, are required, all to be built in a congested area that continues to handle thousands of vehicles entering the airport every day. Reinforced Earth® mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) retaining walls and abutments offered the perfect solution with their rapid construction, limited footprint, ease of staging to accommodate maintenance of traffic, and proven history as an economical tool for roadway improvements.  Working with project consulting engineer Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. (Atlanta) and geotechnical consultant Willmer Engineering Inc. (Atlanta), RECo designed 11 walls totaling 65,190 sf of surface area and requiring 2,505 lf of traffic barrier.  Wall heights were typical for highways, ranging from 10 ft to 25 ft with some at 30 ft adjacent to bridges. 

Although on airport property and built entirely with airport funds, the project was designed and constructed in accordance with Georgia Department of Transportation (GADOT) specifications, means and methods.  The general contractor, C.W. Matthews Contracting Company, Inc. (Marietta), and the wall-installation subcontractor, Bonn-J Contracting, Inc. of Florida (Chuluota) are both experienced on GADOT projects, where Reinforced Earth structures are frequently constructed, so they knew the benefits of purchasing MSE retaining walls from The Reinforced Earth Company.  RECo's track record with Matthews and Bonn-J, combined with the RECo-operated precasting plant in nearby Newnan, fit perfectly with the early-completion requirement for walls 5 & 6 (mandated to be completed within 3 months of project startup).  To meet this requirement, RECo started production immediately following notice to proceed and produced about 14,200 sf of precast panels (about 22% of the project total) in only 3 weeks, along with about 980 lf (39%) of the precast traffic barrier, so that Bonn-J could timely complete those two walls and Matthews could complete the roadways that were supported on the walls.

The foundation soils underlying this project were entirely adequate to support the proposed retaining walls, but some settlement was predicted at several locations.  Reinforced Earth walls can tolerate large total settlements due to their segmental panel facing and standard 0.75 in joint spacing.  Indeed, even differential settlements up to 1% (1 ft differential settlement over a 100 ft length of wall) can be routinely accommodated by the facing joints of Reinforced Earth walls.  However, when settlement is expected, the GADOT specifications require the wall to be constructed in two (or more, for higher walls) stages of height, allowing a 30-day waiting period before resuming wall construction.  The intent of the waiting period is to partially load the foundation soil, allow initial settlement to occur, and then complete the structure.   If settlement does occur, the contractor then has the opportunity to make any adjustments required to meet final grade.  Matthews, Bonn-J and RECo, being familiar with this procedure, simply planned the wall construction sequence to account for these waiting periods while keeping their crews busy on other walls not subject to this requirement.

Contractors often envision a different construction sequence than the designer planned, and that was true for C.W. Matthews on this project.  A maintenance-of-traffic detour designed by Jacobs Engineering required an existing embankment to be supported by a costly and slow-to-construct tied-back wall so the embankment would not be disturbed.  By resequencing the work, however, Matthews was able to eliminate the detour and, therefore, the need for the tied-back type of construction.  Instead they excavated into the embankment and constructed a Reinforced Earth wall that met the full earth retention needs at that location, saving both time and money for their customer.

Early in 2015, the new Atlanta Airport Inbound Roadway Improvements project will be complete, providing safer, faster and less congested access to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.  And as in other major infrastructure projects around Atlanta and across the nation, Reinforced Earth retaining walls will have played a major role in the project's timely and cost-effective completion.

~~When the City of Atlanta leased 287 acres of land for an airfield in 1925, no one imagined that in 2013 nearly 95 million passengers would pass through what became the world's busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson International.  Similarly, the inbound roadway system designers of the late 1970s could not have envisioned the doubling of automobile traffic that would clog airport entrance roadways some 30+ years later.  So to improve traffic flow and provide for the airport's continued growth, the Inbound Roadways Project was begun in 2013.

A complex undertaking scheduled for completion in January 2015, this major upgrade of the airport’s terminal roadway network extends southward from Camp Creek Parkway at I-85 to Riverdale Road at I-85. Design requirements include realigning and widening roadways, segregating conflicting traffic movements, minimizing weaving conditions, minimizing queuing and related delays, improving connections and access to/from various facilities, and upgrading signage.  To meet these requirements, contractors are realigning Airport Boulevard and its connections with North and South Terminal Parkway and are moving the airport entrance along Riverdale Road to the existing signalized intersection with Airport Boulevard.

New bridges are being built, old bridges are coming out, and multiple retaining walls, some topped by traffic barrier, are required, all to be built in a congested area that continues to handle thousands of vehicles entering the airport every day. Reinforced Earth® mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) retaining walls and abutments offered the perfect solution with their rapid construction, limited footprint, ease of staging to accommodate maintenance of traffic, and proven history as an economical tool for roadway improvements.  Working with project consulting engineer Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. (Atlanta) and geotechnical consultant Willmer Engineering Inc. (Atlanta), RECo designed 11 walls totaling 65,190 sf of surface area and requiring 2,505 lf of traffic barrier.  Wall heights were typical for highways, ranging from 10 ft to 25 ft with some at 30 ft adjacent to bridges. 

Although on airport property and built entirely with airport funds, the project was designed and constructed in accordance with Georgia Department of Transportation (GADOT) specifications, means and methods.  The general contractor, C.W. Matthews Contracting Company, Inc. (Marietta), and the wall-installation subcontractor, Bonn-J Contracting, Inc. of Florida (Chuluota) are both experienced on GADOT projects, where Reinforced Earth structures are frequently constructed, so they knew the benefits of purchasing MSE retaining walls from The Reinforced Earth Company.  RECo's track record with Matthews and Bonn-J, combined with the RECo-operated precasting plant in nearby Newnan, fit perfectly with the early-completion requirement for walls 5 & 6 (mandated to be completed within 3 months of project startup).  To meet this requirement, RECo started production immediately following notice to proceed and produced about 14,200 sf of precast panels (about 22% of the project total) in only 3 weeks, along with about 980 lf (39%) of the precast traffic barrier, so that Bonn-J could timely complete those two walls and Matthews could complete the roadways that were supported on the walls.

The foundation soils underlying this project were entirely adequate to support the proposed retaining walls, but some settlement was predicted at several locations.  Reinforced Earth walls can tolerate large total settlements due to their segmental panel facing and standard 0.75 in joint spacing.  Indeed, even differential settlements up to 1% (1 ft differential settlement over a 100 ft length of wall) can be routinely accommodated by the facing joints of Reinforced Earth walls.  However, when settlement is expected, the GADOT specifications require the wall to be constructed in two (or more, for higher walls) stages of height, allowing a 30-day waiting period before resuming wall construction.  The intent of the waiting period is to partially load the foundation soil, allow initial settlement to occur, and then complete the structure.   If settlement does occur, the contractor then has the opportunity to make any adjustments required to meet final grade.  Matthews, Bonn-J and RECo, being familiar with this procedure, simply planned the wall construction sequence to account for these waiting periods while keeping their crews busy on other walls not subject to this requirement.

Contractors often envision a different construction sequence than the designer planned, and that was true for C.W. Matthews on this project.  A maintenance-of-traffic detour designed by Jacobs Engineering required an existing embankment to be supported by a costly and slow-to-construct tied-back wall so the embankment would not be disturbed.  By resequencing the work, however, Matthews was able to eliminate the detour and, therefore, the need for the tied-back type of construction.  Instead they excavated into the embankment and constructed a Reinforced Earth wall that met the full earth retention needs at that location, saving both time and money for their customer.

Early in 2015, the new Atlanta Airport Inbound Roadway Improvements project will be complete, providing safer, faster and less congested access to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.  And as in other major infrastructure projects around Atlanta and across the nation, Reinforced Earth retaining walls will have played a major role in the project's timely and cost-effective completion.

~~When the City of Atlanta leased 287 acres of land for an airfield in 1925, no one imagined that in 2013 nearly 95 million passengers would pass through what became the world's busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson International.  Similarly, the inbound roadway system designers of the late 1970s could not have envisioned the doubling of automobile traffic that would clog airport entrance roadways some 30+ years later.  So to improve traffic flow and provide for the airport's continued growth, the Inbound Roadways Project was begun in 2013.

A complex undertaking scheduled for completion in January 2015, this major upgrade of the airport’s terminal roadway network extends southward from Camp Creek Parkway at I-85 to Riverdale Road at I-85. Design requirements include realigning and widening roadways, segregating conflicting traffic movements, minimizing weaving conditions, minimizing queuing and related delays, improving connections and access to/from various facilities, and upgrading signage.  To meet these requirements, contractors are realigning Airport Boulevard and its connections with North and South Terminal Parkway and are moving the airport entrance along Riverdale Road to the existing signalized intersection with Airport Boulevard.

New bridges are being built, old bridges are coming out, and multiple retaining walls, some topped by traffic barrier, are required, all to be built in a congested area that continues to handle thousands of vehicles entering the airport every day. Reinforced Earth® mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) retaining walls and abutments offered the perfect solution with their rapid construction, limited footprint, ease of staging to accommodate maintenance of traffic, and proven history as an economical tool for roadway improvements.  Working with project consulting engineer Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. (Atlanta) and geotechnical consultant Willmer Engineering Inc. (Atlanta), RECo designed 11 walls totaling 65,190 sf of surface area and requiring 2,505 lf of traffic barrier.  Wall heights were typical for highways, ranging from 10 ft to 25 ft with some at 30 ft adjacent to bridges. 

Although on airport property and built entirely with airport funds, the project was designed and constructed in accordance with Georgia Department of Transportation (GADOT) specifications, means and methods.  The general contractor, C.W. Matthews Contracting Company, Inc. (Marietta), and the wall-installation subcontractor, Bonn-J Contracting, Inc. of Florida (Chuluota) are both experienced on GADOT projects, where Reinforced Earth structures are frequently constructed, so they knew the benefits of purchasing MSE retaining walls from The Reinforced Earth Company.  RECo's track record with Matthews and Bonn-J, combined with the RECo-operated precasting plant in nearby Newnan, fit perfectly with the early-completion requirement for walls 5 & 6 (mandated to be completed within 3 months of project startup).  To meet this requirement, RECo started production immediately following notice to proceed and produced about 14,200 sf of precast panels (about 22% of the project total) in only 3 weeks, along with about 980 lf (39%) of the precast traffic barrier, so that Bonn-J could timely complete those two walls and Matthews could complete the roadways that were supported on the walls.

The foundation soils underlying this project were entirely adequate to support the proposed retaining walls, but some settlement was predicted at several locations.  Reinforced Earth walls can tolerate large total settlements due to their segmental panel facing and standard 0.75 in joint spacing.  Indeed, even differential settlements up to 1% (1 ft differential settlement over a 100 ft length of wall) can be routinely accommodated by the facing joints of Reinforced Earth walls.  However, when settlement is expected, the GADOT specifications require the wall to be constructed in two (or more, for higher walls) stages of height, allowing a 30-day waiting period before resuming wall construction.  The intent of the waiting period is to partially load the foundation soil, allow initial settlement to occur, and then complete the structure.   If settlement does occur, the contractor then has the opportunity to make any adjustments required to meet final grade.  Matthews, Bonn-J and RECo, being familiar with this procedure, simply planned the wall construction sequence to account for these waiting periods while keeping their crews busy on other walls not subject to this requirement.

Contractors often envision a different construction sequence than the designer planned, and that was true for C.W. Matthews on this project.  A maintenance-of-traffic detour designed by Jacobs Engineering required an existing embankment to be supported by a costly and slow-to-construct tied-back wall so the embankment would not be disturbed.  By resequencing the work, however, Matthews was able to eliminate the detour and, therefore, the need for the tied-back type of construction.  Instead they excavated into the embankment and constructed a Reinforced Earth wall that met the full earth retention needs at that location, saving both time and money for their customer.

Early in 2015, the new Atlanta Airport Inbound Roadway Improvements project will be complete, providing safer, faster and less congested access to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.  And as in other major infrastructure projects around Atlanta and across the nation, Reinforced Earth retaining walls will have played a major role in the project's timely and cost-effective completion.