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Indianapolis, IN, USA (HQ)

903 E. Ohio St., Indianapolis, IN 46202

Call: (317)423-2325

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Parking Deck Renewal Project Flying High at Hartsfield-Jackson

by: Debra Wood
Manhattan/RFB’s unique shoring plan allows terminal drop-off vehicle traffic to flow while reinforcing deck work is performed above.
Manhattan/RFB’s unique shoring plan allows terminal drop-off vehicle traffic to flow while reinforcing deck work is performed above.
Massive steel girder beams and super studs support two-lanes of traffic slab load above.
Massive steel girder beams and super studs support two-lanes of traffic slab load above.
Staging of shoring materials awaiting installation.
Staging of shoring materials awaiting installation.
Manhattan/RFB’s unique shoring plan allows safe pedestrian traffic access to terminal drop-off while reinforcing deck work is performed above.
Manhattan/RFB’s unique shoring plan allows safe pedestrian traffic access to terminal drop-off while reinforcing deck work is performed above.
Manhattan/RFB’s pedestrian access plan allows travelers safe access to parking while deck work is performed above.
Manhattan/RFB’s pedestrian access plan allows travelers safe access to parking while deck work is performed above.
Survey marks for deck slot cutting locations.
Survey marks for deck slot cutting locations.
Multiple projects are under way as part of ATLNext, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s capital improvement program, including parking deck renewals.

The development master plan is designed to boost capacity, renew and replace existing facilities, and enhance ATL’s aesthetic appeal, according to an airport spokesperson, adding, “ATLNext, through 2042, will help secure Hartsfield-Jackson’s position as the world’s busiest and most efficient airport and further bolster the airport’s goal to provide the best possible customer service while meeting passengers’ changing needs.”

Scope of ATLNext
The capital improvement program includes revamping of the north and south terminals, repairing and rebuilding parking decks, expanding air cargo facilities, revitalizing the fire station and maintenance complex, relocating and updating areas for commercial vehicles and taxis, consolidating and relocating maintenance facilities, and airside upgrades. The additional capacity will enable the airport to accommodate increased air traffic and ground operations.

Current projects include adding five gates and midpoint circulation expansions at Concourse T-North, adding an end-around on Runway 9L, extending a plane-train tunnel, expanding cargo areas 2A and 2B, upgrading the south de-icing complex and fire station 32, and renewing two parking decks. The airport remains operational.

“We are used to performing extensive work in a dynamic environment,” said Jai Ferrell, airport assistant general manager of Commercial Revenue, in a statement.

Planning Keeps Everyone Safe and Moving
The airport is undertaking $46.6 million in structural renewals on the South and North Domestic Terminal Parking Decks to extend their lives until replacements can be built in the future. The parking decks were last renewed in 2016.

A joint venture team HFWT, comprised of HKS of Atlanta; Fitzgerald Collaborative of Atlanta; Walker Consultants of Atlanta; and Thornton Tomasetti of New York, designed the parking deck rehabilitation project.

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Manhattan-RFB, the contractor joint venture between Manhattan Construction Co. and RFB Contractors, both with offices in Atlanta, began work on the inner half of the lower three levels of the South parking deck, closest to the Domestic Terminal, in May 2022.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to tackle another logistically tough project for the Atlanta Airport,” says Robert Hogan, project manager with Manhattan Construction. “Through days and hours of intense collaboration with our trade and design partners, we’ve devised a combination of creative ways to meet the airport’s goals.”

Hogan adds that “the difficulty of this project comes from leaving areas of the parking decks in continuous use while construction is performed. This requires the project team to plan each phase of work closely to provide safe and efficient pathways through the work zones to the thousands of daily passengers that park and travel through Atlanta airport.”

GPR Helps Find Post-Tension Cables and Rebar
The airport does not have as-built drawings for the parking garages and this area had post-tensioned, cast-in-place concrete. “We have seen some areas where the post-tensioning has come up through the concrete,” says Alison Bartlett, project manager for the airport parking garages. “We have done some scanning out there and used a rake with eight to 10 chains on it, so we can hear where it is hollow.”

The contractor had to determine what post-tension cables needed to be repaired or if the brittle cables could even be repaired without further damaging the cable, Hogan says. Crews used ground penetrating radar (GPR) to locate existing post-tensioning and rebar. For each slot, workers made eight passes with the GPR to locate post-tensioning and rebar. Crews have found more rebar than was expected, which Bartlett calls, “good surprises.”

“The design team, HFWT, developed a slab-strengthening design that introduces additional top-side reinforcement to the concrete slab through a series of more than 20,000 slots cut in the deck, each sized at 1.25 inch by 1 inch by 18 feet,” Hogan adds.

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Manhattan Construction then planned each step.

“To start, we installed shoring in each area to provide support when the deck reinforcing repairs are performed,” Hogan explains. “Our long-time joint venture partner, RFB Contractors, helped to manage this part of the process with Maximus Construction Services of Suwanee, Georgia, installing EFCO product shoring within tight deadlines.

Manhattan Construction modified the saw, which normally has a ¼-inch blade, to make a one-inch wide cut with a single pass. The removed concrete and slurry from the dust and water is sucked up automatically.

Crews then place an epoxy and rebar in the slots where the post-tensioning had failed.

“The biggest challenge of doing these repairs on decks that are still functioning, taking out some spaces,” Bartlett says. “It’s working with the general public utilizing the deck and making sure they have a way to get to travel without getting in the construction zone.”

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Additionally, Hogan reports the most difficult shoring was securing the existing slabs above the active lower roadway drop-off lanes of the Domestic Terminal.

“To minimize impacts to the airport, our team developed an extensive shoring system utilizing massive girder beams and super stud supports to carry two traffic lanes of the slab load above,” Hogan says. “This involved nightly closures and a 72-hour around-the-clock operation with multiple crews to erect the shoring quickly and minimize downtime.”

The Next Level
Once the post-tensioned repairs are complete, the work transitions to two precast concrete north-south additions from 1986, followed by the fourth level, constructed in the 1990s. Rehabilitating the precast decks involves repairing the sheer joint connections with brackets, then placing a traffic coating to protect the patches. “Over time, those connections just break,” Bartlett explains.

Completion of the South Deck is set for January 2023. At that time, structural renewal will begin on the North Parking Deck, with a November 2023 completion.

The project has remained under budget and on time despite some material supply chain issues, particularly with the epoxy. The airport started ordering three months before construction began but still experienced challenges, for instance, ordering 10 drums and receiving eight.

“We have a really strong engineering team and construction team, and we all work together to keep on schedule and under cost and moving forward,” Bartlett says. “We have a great team of people.”

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Hogan agrees about the collaboration, saying, “We are most proud of the collective determination of the entire team to make things happen that didn’t initially seem possible. Performing a massive rehabilitation effort on the two busiest parking decks at the busiest airport in the world is not easy, but it is possible when you have the right people on your team.”

Parking during construction
The initial rehabilitation of the South parking deck closed about 2,500 parking spaces in the oldest section of the deck, built in 1980. During construction, the levels not under construction remain open for parking and crews are maintaining access to those spaces, creating pedestrian pathways. Other parking decks remain open.

“We are prepared to address this challenge and remind our passengers that we will have over 31,000 available parking spaces at the airport during this project,” Ferrell said. “We will have a robust communications plan to inform the public about the project and provide parking options.”

Looking ahead, the airport plans to replace the South Deck in 2026 and the North Deck in 2032.

Photos courtesy of Manhattan Construction Co.

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