So, I thought it would be cool to shoot a video on how they paved the runway, and turns out, I was right – it is cool. Maybe I’m a nerd, but I found it amazing how they brought in the concrete material, then formed it into a beautiful, nearly flawless, 15 inch slab, working many yards in mere minutes.
The dump trucks would pull under a huge loader that would fill its bed with 10 yards of concrete in 2 minutes. With the time it takes for the truck to stage its position, load and move for the next truck, a truck can be filled every 2.5 minutes.
Paving the Runway at the new Panama City Airport from Jason Koertge on Vimeo.
The runway paving process was, I thought, interesting. Consisting of 15 inches of concrete on top of 4 inches of asphalt, the runway will be capable of handling the load of the largest of aircraft.
Each dump truck would back the loads down the asphalt sometimes up to a quarter mile, then dump their load right in front of the first machine. As the machine worked the pile of concrete to fit under its 15 inch clearance, workers would grab a sample of the concrete with shovels to take back and test. Each load of concrete was tested to be sure that it met the proper strength requirements.
As the concrete passes under the machine, 1 inch rods comb through the mixture vibrating at a high rate of speed to be sure the mixture compacts. It exits the other side a basic form, but not smoothed. The next machine refines the shape, vibrates and compacts more and spits the smoothed almost finished runway out the back end.
The main 8,600 feet of the runway is paved as of right now and upon arrival of the FAA approval of the extension, the remaining 1.400 feet will be paved in about 10 days.