Hutchens Construction (Mo.) wins national Ray Brown Airport Pavement Award

Hutchens Construction Co. of Cassville, Missouri, has won the 2017 Ray Brown Airport Pavement Award for excellence in construction of an asphalt airport pavement. The company received its award February 14 during the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) 63rd annual meeting in San Diego.

Hutchens earned the award for asphalt rehabilitation and paving work at Rogers Executive Airport in Rogers, Arkansas. Located less than eight miles from Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, the majority of Rogers Executive Airport travelers are the mega-store’s executives, NAPA says.

The Rogers Executive Airport Runway Pavement and Lighting Rehabilitation project contract was won by Emery Sapp & Sons, which hired Hutchens Construction Co. as a subcontractor to rebuild the entire length of the runway keel, perform crack repairs, and overlay 66,000 square yards of runway during a five-day period.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has very tight asphalt mixture specifications for airport runways, a press release explains. As the paving subcontractor, Hutchens was responsible for the meeting the stringent FAA smoothness and volumetric specifications, which required a highly knowledgeable team grounded in asphalt pavement best practices.

Hutchens Chief Operating Officer Brandon Finn says the company management chose a strategy that built in a safeguard in case an unexpected problem arose. The strategy involving giving the crews extra time to complete the project.

“We used two crews simultaneously to condense the work down to four days in case we ran into any problems and needed the extra day,” Finn said. This foresight proved valuable when the company identified a total of 10,000 linear feet of cracked pavement needing repair, instead of the original estimate of 500 linear feet.

Over the following four remaining days, Hutchens Construction worked in coordination with other subcontractors to repair miles of severe cracks, first milling the areas and then filling them, before laying 11,000 tons of asphalt pavement mix over the entire runway, the press release says.

Adam White, P.E., with engineering firm Garver, represented Rogers Executive Airport on the project and was responsible for ensuring the facility would have a superior asphalt pavement runway.

“Hutchens met or exceeded the strictest FAA specifications on their way to paving close to 15,000 tons of asphalt in four days,” White says. ” The company used dual pavers in order to minimize cold joints, providing a better overall product for the airport.”

The Ray Brown Award is named for Dr. E. Ray Brown, the former director of the National Center for Asphalt Technology at Auburn University from 1991 until his retirement in 2007. Under Brown’s leadership, NCAT became the preeminent organization for asphalt pavement research.