Fast track planning and design and build of a new runway at Mthatha airport

Mthatha Airport was a small regional airport in a remote part of South Africa, close to the home of the late Nelson Mandela. It was expected to play a key role during Mandela’s funeral, but the existing airside infrastructure was inadequate to cater for the international high visibility event. Authorities moved to improve the airside infrastructure as matter of national priority and urgency. This resulted in the fast track planning, design and build project of a new FAA group V/ICAO Code 4E runway at Mthatha airport. The upgrade had to be completed within 8 months, and before the funeral occurred. This paper describes the following technical aspects: planning the runway geometric layout and obstacle limitation surfaces; procurement of quality materials and innovative drainage provisions in a high rainfall region; pavement design using FAARFIELD, then adjusting to local materials and design norms using linear elastic models; adapt the fast track approach to the opportunities offered by materials and paving technologies available in this remote region; rapid stage construction solutions to enable emergency use of the airport by large aircraft in case the high visibility event occurred prematurely. This project was successfully completed within the short time limits and interim goals of possible emergency use. The technical challenges led to a number of innovative material and design utilizations in a logistical challenging remote rural area. The project was set within a fast tracked procurement process and shifting responsible client government implementing agencies.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 10p
  • Monograph Title: 11th Conference on Asphalt Pavements for Southern Africa: CAPSA15, 16-19 August 2015, Sun City, South Africa

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01597162
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Apr 22 2016 11:18AM