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Vancouver International Airport


The Opportunity

The Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is the second-busiest airport in Canada and can serve up to 700 departing and arriving aircraft on a daily basis during the summer months. Most of this traffic goes through the airport's two main runways: 26R and 26L. These runways are in constant use and undergo a high degree of wear and tear. When the North runway, or 26R, had to undergo maintenance to remove and replace 11 degraded concrete panels, it was imperative that these repairs be done quickly and efficiently.


For the North runway to open to air traffic, the new panels would have to first reach a flexural strength of 3.5MPa to allow for light aircraft traffic, and a flexural strength of 4.8MPa to allow for heavy aircraft traffic. During these repairs, all air traffic would need to be redirected to the South runway, resulting in delayed and cancelled flights as well as a significant loss of revenue. Using regular concrete, this process would take a full week.


 The Goal

After some deliberation, Lafarge, Levelton Consulting Ltd., and the Vancouver Airport Authority agreed on a new target for the runway maintenance. This new target would see the replaced panels reach a flexural strength of 3.5MPa within 24hrs, allowing for light aircraft traffic, and a flexural strength of 4.8MPa within 33hrs, allowing for heavy aircraft traffic.


The Lafarge Solution

To achieve full usage of the runway within 33hrs of the pour, Lafarge's rapid strength gain product, Chronolia® 4H, was used. The Lafarge Vancouver Team worked closely with the Vancouver International Airport to ensure that the new timeline would be met. In addition to design meetings, pre-pour meetings, and plant trials, two on site mockups were completed. These mockups were designed to mimic both the worst and best case scenarios and successfully predicted the results and procedure changes that were required to be successful on the runway. All Lafarge recommendations regarding placement, finishing, and curing were followed. The panels were replaced ahead of schedule with the runway opening up to heavy aircraft traffic 15 hours sooner than predicted. The successful removal and replacement of the North runway panels at the Vancouver International Airport is the first time such a maintenance has been completed in under two days.


"Lafarge's concrete product Chronolia® 4H made repairing the north runway in the allotted timeframe possible."- Christopher Rufenacht, Manager, Airside Engineering Projects, Vancouver Airports Authority


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LafargeHolcim. Cement, aggregates, Concrete.