2021, Asphalt Pavements

Running deflection testing in tandem optimized an airport runway assessment

As part of their pavement management program, airport officials at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin, Texas, coupled two types of deflection tests to assess the condition of one of its runways. This pairing allowed them to determine whether partial rehabilitation or a complete and costly reconstruction would be necessary.

Click here to discover what they learned in this article for ASCE Civil Engineering magazine.

Lesson on runways by the numbers

Airport runways are named based on their compass directions: 360 represents north, 270 represents west, 180 represents south, and 90 represents east. In a runway’s name, the last number is removed. Because runways can be accessed from either direction, they typically have two numbers associated with the name. Airports that have two parallel runways, like AUS, designate them with an additional L or R for left and right.

As such, runway 17L/35R runs in a north-south direction at approximately 170 degrees if heading south and 350 degrees if heading north. The 17L and 35R indicate that this runway is east of the adjacent parallel runway — 17R/35L. At AUS, the two are also referred to as the east and west runways.