Essential Since 1947: The Taxiway WB Rehabilitation Project at Bush Intercontinental Airport
Jeroen Dijkema is used to those long days.
“We start with our 6:30 a.m. meetings, to discuss the previous night work’s progress, and the plan for the day ahead,” the project engineer on the Taxiway WB project at George Bush Intercontinental Airport says. “After making the rounds in the field I place some orders for field needs, check in with subcontractors and get to my ‘to-do’ list for the day” Finally in the late afternoon, the Flatiron team assesses the progress they have made during the day and discuss if it hit the mark.
After first completing Bush’s Taxiway WA, Flatiron has now moved on to rehabbing WB, which lies parallel to the east. The project owner is the Houston Airport System (HAS), which also administers the city’s other airports: William P. Hobby and Ellington.
Dijkema says issues with the initial design necessitated WB’s rehabilitation. Additionally, Flatiron is widening its shoulders to accommodate larger aircraft.
As mentioned earlier, the days are long, but they are certainly paying dividends. They finished up a phase early this year, allowing them to avoid doing it during the peak travel season.
With numerous hangar facilities bordering WB, scheduling has been challenging for project staff. For example, part of the project’s scope involves FedEx’s entrance ramp. When the shipping giant’s planes come in or take off, equipment has to be pulled back.
“WA was one long, streamlined phase whereas WB is broken up into 9 phases to accommodate hangar access,” explains Houston Area Manager Mike Zanella. “Access to hangars must be maintained 24/7; each ramp can only be impacted a set amount of days.”
At the end of the day however, Dijkema says the good chemistry on the team gets everyone through the long days under Houston’s hot and humid sun: “We can maintain a good attitude during busy times, so between long shifts and challenging times, we’re still able to joke around with each other.
There’s lots of reason for Flatiron staffers in Houston to show off a good attitude. Besides the WA/WB project, earlier this year HAS awarded the company a miscellaneous repairs job. That contract includes Flatiron’s first work at the sister Hobby and Ellington Airports.
The Taxiway WB portion of the project is scheduled to wrap in late 2021.