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Aviation board alters airport expansion plans

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

The Shelbyville Municipal Airport is moving forward with plans for expansion with a slight change after Friday’s aviation board meeting.

The airport will be expanding on the west side but will not to the north after the board decided to make the alteration. The decision was made to stay within the budget.

Tim Weaver, senior project manager for Runnebohm Construction, asked board members for direction on what they wanted to do with the expansion after determining there were not enough funds to pour concrete on the north side.

After discussion among board members and Mark Shillington, the airport’s engineer of record, they decided to forego the expansion to the north and expand to the west using six inches of concrete.

The board discussed whether it was necessary to pour eight inches to stay in line with the current taxiways and what, if any, difference it would be to pour six.

“Is eight inches absolutely necessary to accommodate the traffic? Probably not,” Shillington said. “It’s not like the aircraft is going to fall through the concrete or anything.”

He added that he didn’t know what type of structural analysis was done for that pavement.

“If you asked me would I have heartache for them to use the six inches or eight inches, I’d say the only heartache it would give me is basically when you go to reconstruct it, but we can deal with that,” he said. “If money is an issue, if you’d rather have the coverage than the depth, you could leave it six inches in my opinion. It’d still serve its function.”

The original proposal was to pour six inches of concrete, Weaver said. A revised drawing that included expansion to the north added three times as much concrete from what was proposed in the bid specification documents and would have added another roughly $220,000.

That proposal would have also increased the concrete depth from six to eight inches.

The board also decided against reinforcing the concrete after Shillington explained how it worked.

A joint steel slab is sawed into panels because a massive area of concrete won’t start to crack for environmental reasons, he said.

“You basically pre-crack the concrete so it cracks in a predictable manner,” he said.

He added that there was no right or wrong answer.

“The potential would be is that the different concrete sections will act different under the conditions, and you will get differential movement and will do some unpredictable things,” he said. “Is it enough to cause operational issues? You never know. The joints could wear out faster, they could start to spall. You’d start to see a lot of joint stresses and wearing so that you’ll get more random cracks at a time. You’d get more joint problems. But is it worth the cost of your money? It’s really impossible to say.”

In other business, Jordan Bullard, the airport manager, told the board that the Army National Guard had asked to use the airport as a training facility.

He said a temporary radar-controlled program would be set up to mainly be used on the weekends. Legally, the National Guard cannot control the airfield, he said, but it would be using two frequencies – the airport’s and the military’s.

Board members noted that the National Guard has used the airport at least one other time in the past.

No action was taken by the board.