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Reality Computing for Safer Airport Construction

Fort Smith Regional Airport in Arkansas is almost finished with the construction of a three-phase $9 million project that involves upgrading the airport’s primary taxiway, and Reality Capture is help making that construction safer for both travelers and construction crews.

The project entails widening the taxiway 60 feet over a length of about 4,000 feet and includes building a pavement section of 18 inches of concrete over 4 inches of hot mix asphalt, both placed on a compacted subgrade. Arkansas-based Morrison-Shipley is the project’s Engineer of Record and is providing the surveying, engineering design, construction inspection, and administration services for the Airport.

Morrison-shipley, Fort Smith Airport construction

Reality Computing is helping Morrison-Shipley capture existing conditions, and
assess quality and safety during construction at Fort Smith Regional Airport in Arkansas.

Fort Smith is an active airport, with commercial service as well as operations for private and military aircraft. To help ensure the safety of flight operations, the FAA sets tight limits for construction zones—resulting in a high density of people and construction equipment working in close proximity. This congestion makes it difficult to use traditional surveying methods. So to quickly perform onsite surveys, Morrison-Shipley uses laser-scanning, combined with Autodesk ReCap software to process the resulting point clouds for use in AutoCAD Civil 3D, the firm’s civil engineering design tool. This enables the firm to quickly and safely carry out high-precision data collection at the job site with just one surveyor, greatly reducing risks at the job site.

To capture the existing conditions of the taxiways and surrounding environs, Morrison-Shipley supplemented conventional surveying methods with 3D laser scanning. The firm periodically reused that existing conditions data during the design, avoiding the need for the firm’s survey department to make costly return trips to the site.

In addition, the firm is using laser-scanning technology, ReCap, and Civil 3D to survey in-progress work—documenting subsurface conditions during construction and calculating earthwork quantities. For example, the firm is scanning undercuts of existing subgrade soils and importing these point clouds into Civil 3D to determine exact quantities of excavated material. These measurements are then used by the Airport for the payment of fees to contractors. The firm also uses this reality data to compare as-constructed conditions against its as-designed improvements—verifying the scanned survey data against the finished grades called out on their project drawings.

Click here to read more about how Morrison-Shipley is using Reality Capture to capture and compute this airport construction.

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