Rehabilitation of the Service Roads and Bravo Taxiway at the East London Airport

Africoast Consulting Engineers had been appointed by ACSA for the maintenance and rehabilitation investigation and design of the airside and landside service roads and Bravo and Golf Taxiways on East London Airport (ELA).

As-built information on these airside and landside roads were not sufficient to do a design in sufficient detail. Additional information in the form of visual pavement inspections and geotechnical and material testing was conducted to determine the existing pavement conditions. There was further challenges regarding the traffic analysis, with recent traffic fluctuations on the taxiways and the landside access road being problematic due to the on-set of Covid-19 and the effect it had on local and international travel. Before the Covid-19 lock down the general trend for Air Traffic Movements (ATMs) had already shown a steady downward trend. The Covid-19 lockdown impacted traffic figures negatively on all airports in SA. This is not dissimilar to the rest of the world. Traffic forecast and analyses of ‘rebound’ forecasts by ICAO imply that it may take as much as 10 years for Air Traffic Movements (ATMs) or landside traffic to rebound to the 2019 pre-Covid figures on regional airports like ELA.

The structural analysis that followed for each road element was based on the basic material quality and thickness information.  The appropriate maintenance and or special maintenance actions were proposed and designed keeping in mind the constructability constraints applicable when working within an airport environment.

The project was completed up to the end of the documentation and procurement stage of the project life cycle. Unfortunately with the significant changes to air travel movements as a result of COVID-19, affected available budgets and therefore ACSA opted to put the construction of the works temporarily on hold.