From Take-Off to Touch Down, Innovative Technologies and Teamwork Key to Airport Transformation
John Wayne Airport (SNA), owned and operated by the County of Orange, is the only commercial service airport in Orange County, California. It is located approximately 35 miles south of Los Angeles, between the cities of Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Newport Beach. The service area includes more than three million people within the 34 cities and unincorporated areas of Orange County.
John Wayne Airport was originally built to serve approximately 8.4 million passengers a year in two terminals (A & B). The existing facilities were not meeting the demands of current passenger travel, which is nearly 10 million passengers a year.
Balfour Beatty provided construction management services to John Wayne Airport (JWA) for several renovations and new construction projects that improved the airport’s existing facilities. We were responsible for managing three separate facilities:
Parking Structure “C—an existing 1,240-space parking structure was demolished to pave way for the new construction of Parking Structure “C.” The five level parking structure added approximately 2,040 new parking spaces levels, relieved parking congestion at the existing terminal, and is big enough to accommodate additional parking needs for future airport expansions.
Central Plant Cogeneration Facility—this facility furnishes power to the existing Terminals (A and B), as well as to the new Terminal C and Parking Structure “C”. The single-story building includes a mezzanine around four gas-powered electrical generators pumping out about 1.75 megawatts each. There is also three 750-ton centrifugal water chillers, two 470-ton absorption water chillers, and one 125-ton air-cooled water chiller housed in the facility.
Airside Dock Access / North Trash Facility—this project consisted of relocating the existing trash facilities from the basement of the existing terminal building, to a remote location at the north end of the taxiway.
Leveraging Innovative Technology to Enhance Safety
This parking structure is one of the first concrete parking structures in the country to employ buckling restrained brace (BRB) technology—the steel beams have a core plate covered with restraints to keep them from buckling in earthquake-prone Southern California. This means that the parking structure has a greater ability to withstand extreme force, such as an earthquake, than a typical concrete beam structure.
Our team played a critical role in the decision to utilize this new technology and provided timely and accurate reports that addressed cost and value analysis, design constructability, design support, risk analysis, schedule and site logistics. These reports enabled JWA to make key decisions regarding the project design as well as the final decision use the BRB technology.
Central Plant and Cogeneration Facility Enables JWA to Self-Generate Electricity
The purpose of the cogeneration plant was for JWA to self-generate electricity at lower rates than was it was paying thus, providing cost and energy savings. As part of the design-build team, Balfour Beatty ensured JWA would benefit from “free cooling” for their facilities, and this was accomplished by recapturing the heat byproduct generated by the four generators and using it to feed two absorption chillers. The absorption chillers are specially designed with equipment that converts heat to chilled water for cooling purposes. The two, 535-ton machines are sized to meet the air conditioning cooling needs of the two existing terminals and the newly built Terminal C.
Another innovation include absorption chillers that are controlled by a sophisticated Energy Management System (EMS) and operate one at a time - or together depending on the weather - for energy savings. The one-air-cooled, 120-ton water chiller is EMS controlled to operate in the evenings and in the winter season when the demand for air conditioning is low.
Operational Airport Requires Close Collaboration and Communication
The team learned that working at an active airport required a great deal of client - construction manager - contractor cooperation. It also required close communications with JWA's airside operations, landside operations, facility maintenance staff, and off-site airport management. It was critical to ensure that construction activities did not disrupt the public's access to the operational terminal buildings; that aircraft schedules were not interrupted; that work was conducted safely - especially in areas located in near close active aircraft; and that the numerous vendors who serve the public inside the terminal buildings received uninterrupted utility services and access for their deliveries.
Not only did Balfour Beatty successfully coordinate all construction activities to be in compliance with the required regulations, we crafted a plan that enabled uninterrupted operation of the airport during construction of the projects - with no impact to the public, vendors or aircraft schedules.
As a result, the project was recognized with a Project Achievement Award from the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) Southern California Chapter in recognition of our excellence in the management of the construction process.