Cold Bay Crosswind Improvements Design Services

May 31, 2017

Aerial of runway at Cold Bay Airport

The Cold Bay Airport is a regional airport hub serving the communities of Cold Bay, Sand Point, King Cove, False Pass and Nelson Lagoon. These communities are geographically remote and not accessible by road. As a result, the airport has become their transportation lifeline, providing the primary means for passenger transportation, mail/cargo delivery, medevac and school-related transportation.

The airport was originally constructed during World War II during the secret military build-up in the Territory of Alaska. Today, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) owns, operates and maintains the airport, which has the state’s fifth-largest runway. R&M CONSULTANTS, INC. (R&M) recently completed a fast-track design for DOT&PF to address Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements and improve functionality of the airport to better serve the community.

Cold Bay Airport Runway Visibility Zone – Oblique view looking North.

The RVZ is an area formed by imaginary lines connecting two intersecting runway’s visibility points. Within this area, any point 5’ above the centerline must be mutually visible with any other point 5’ above the centerline of the crossing runway. It was determined the most practicable method for removing the RVZ obstructions was to shift the crosswind runway as far west as possible without encroaching into the Wildlife Refuge (west of the airport.

R&M’s design corrects multiple obstructions in the Runway Visibility Zone (RVZ) by reconfiguring the crosswind runway to enhance safety, allow greater use of airport property and meet FAA safety standards and mandates. The R&M team was responsible for civil engineering design, surveying and mapping, geotechnical analyses and recommendations, environmental services and public involvement support. The project also gave the team unique experience combining multiple plans, specifications and engineer’s estimate (PS&E) sets into one. At 95% complete, R&M was responsible for combining this project’s PS&E, CSPP and ESCP with another consultant’s Cold Bay Main Runway Mill and Overlay project.

The airport consists of two asphalt paved runways. The main runway runs north to south, while the intersecting crosswind runway runs east to west. The design removes more than 1,000’ of runway from the east end of the crosswind runway, shifts the existing runway threshold to the west, and adds approximately 300’ of new runway/Runway Safety Area embankment to the west end of the existing embankment. This design and geometry changes clear the RVZ of site obstructions, repairs the degraded runway asphalt pavement edges and reconfigures the runway edge lighting.

The R&M team is currently providing assistance during construction, including submittal reviews, design clarifications, change order documentation and inspections. Construction began in fall 2016 and is scheduled for completion in fall 2017.

R&M Staff Involved: Evan Griffith, PE; Matt Majoros, PE; David Carlson, EIT; Jai Chang, EIT; Robert Colles, EIT, CESCL; Hans Arnett; Justin Shaw, PE; Hank Brinker, PLS, CFedS; Bill Preston, PLS, GISP; Brooks Dilley, CESCL; Ryan McCormick; Kristi McLean, LEED AP BD+C, CESCL; Christopher Fell, CPG; Buzz Scher, PE; Charlie Riddle, CPG; Jessica Koloski, CAP.

Project Team
Electrical: MBA Consulting Engineers