Gateway Garage Latest for AIA

News Source: Pacific Builder and Engineer
Publish Date: June 19, 2006

Pacific Builder & Engineer
June 16, 2006 Issue

Gateway Garage
Story and Photos by Gene Storm

Anchorage Rental Car Center Continues Airport Growth

The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is a global, national and regional transportation hub that has experienced substantial growth over the past few years. That growth has fueled a continuous stream of construction projects, with the latest being the new $50-million Anchorage Rental Car Center that is taking shape at the busy airport.

Anchorage-based Neeser Construction Inc. is building the 464,000-square-foot concrete, four-story parking structure with an additional 30,000 square feet of structural steel office and lobby space as a design-build project. The design-build process has been ongoing for years, according to Wayne Anderson, project superintendent.

“The planning and development of this project has taken five years,” said Anderson. Using the design-build approach gives all of the parties involved more flexibility in making design changes along the way, he noted, adding, “As construction proceeds, the design-build team is available to expedite unforeseen changes quickly, which is essential to meeting construction milestones.”

The firms participating in the project with Neeser as the lead are EDS, structural engineer; Koonce Pfeffer Bettis, architects; EIC Engineers, electrical; Jenstrom Engineering, mechanical; and Dowl Engineers, providing the civil engineering.

Early Spring Start
Neeser hit the ground on the project in the fall of 2005 by relocating water, sewer and gas lines and the electrical/telecommunication ducts that bisected the site. Last fall’s civil work was critical to achieving a workable construction schedule, according to Anderson.

“This was a key to the early spring start, which will allow us to complete major concrete work before freeze-up in the fall of 2006,” Anderson said. Work on the 1,200-car parking structure is scheduled for completion in June 2007.

Work resumed early this year with the excavation of approximately 190,000 cubic yards of material, of which 150,000 cubic yards was hauled off-site and 40,000 cubic yards was saved as useable backfill. The large parking structure rising from the excavation will feature five ramps, including three helix ovals that will enter and exit the building. The building will include on-site fueling and car wash facilities to service the rental car fleets. An underground tunnel will take customers from the airport’s main terminal to the rental car facility.

Some 25,000 cubic yards of concrete will go into the structure. The foundation consists of 72 spread footings, each containing more than 50 yards of concrete. Retaining walls and ramps will bring the total to 15,000 yards, with the remainder going into tension slabs and beams in the top three floors. More than 2,000 tons of rebar will go into the project.

The gang forms used to shape the concrete walls are from EFCO Corp. of Des Moines, Iowa. The post-tensioning Symons Garage Beam System will be used for the post-tensioned decks and beams. This is a method of reinforcing concrete with high-strength steel strands typically referred to as tendons.

The building will come together under strict seismic guidelines that are in place for Anchorage’s seismic designation, the maximum within the rating system. As designed, the structure is considered a special ductile concrete moment frame.

Project Challenges
Alaska’s weather has been a factor in the early spring concrete work.

“With the weather staying colder longer than anticipated, we have more heat and cover costs than normally expected,” Anderson said. The other side of the weather coin is the savings realized on another project phase.

“The colder and dryer weather has been an advantage for the civil side in that we have less maintenance on airport dump sites, and road cleanup is not as much of an issue at this high-traffic area,” Anderson added.

The project’s constrained site presents a unique challenge for construction crews. The site is ringed on three sides by different airport facilities. The FAA tower is just to the north, the Alaska Railroad Station is on the south perimeter, and Concourse C is close by on the west.

“With all the various activities that are associated with these facilities, the challenge has been to keep these folks from being disrupted yet still keep an aggressive schedule on track,” Anderson noted. “The surprise has been how small a large job site can become in such a restricted environment.”

To help meet the constrained site challenge, Neeser has carefully planned daily jobsite activities and coordinated weekly shipping schedules for materials like rebar and forms that arrive from Seattle. By project completion, more than 110 trailer loads of rebar and 50 loads of rental form materials will have been delivered to the site.

A variety of earthmoving and lifting equipment also is working on-site. The fleet includes two 175-ton cranes, articulated dump trucks, and several excavators and dozers. That equipment moves in and about the site in limited space that also houses construction office trailers and very tight parking for workers.

Neeser’s peak construction workforce will consist of 180 employees, including carpenters, laborers and operators. The major subcontractors, ReBar Placement, MegaWatt Electric and Klebs Mechanical, will bring another 60 workers on-site.

Many of the projects that have fueled growth at the airport were part of a 10-year, $350-million “Gateway Alaska” plan announced by the state of Alaska in 1997. The plan included nearby highway improvements in addition to airport expansion and renovations.

The busy airport serves as a major air crossroads for air freight carriers. It is also the primary entry point for many visitors to the state and for other Alaskans coming to Anchorage for business and shopping opportunities. This combination of travelers makes for a vibrant rental car market. The new Anchorage Rental Car Center will bring those services into a convenient, central facility from disparate locations currently located more distant from the airport.