McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, has been taking off for decades. Opened in 1948, the airport has experienced enormous growth and has undergone numerous significant expansions. In fact, McCarran is known for its continuous expansions and upgrades, tripling in size between 1981 and 2005.
“We like to stay ahead of pace,” says Todd Cooklin, McCarran International Airport’s project manager. “There was a clear growth opportunity to expand international tourism for Las Vegas. Direct international flights lead to global visitors choosing Las Vegas as the launching pad for their U.S. visit. The challenge was our city has grown around the airport so we had to be creative in how we designed the International Gate Expansion Project, and do it efficiently to minimize interruptions for the airlines.”
In February 2016, the $51 million International Gate Expansion project kicked off with an aggressive timeline of 14 months. The design included improvements to the airport’s $2.4 billion Terminal 3, expanding international gates from seven to 14, and building an underground tunnel connecting McCarran’s D gates directly to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection passenger arrival facility. The tunnel is under one of the main taxi lanes and features moving walkways, escalators, and elevators.
“When constructing a tunnel, it’s one thing when it is a transit tunnel for vehicles. A tunnel to transport people presents many challenging details,” says Dennis Maestas, Martin-Harris Construction’s superintendent. “First and foremost, there is zero tolerance for water in the structure.”
To ensure the high level of required water tightness, McCarran’s team selected GCP Applied Technologies to be a one-stop shop for waterproofing the tunnel.
BLUE 360SM DESIGN ADVANTAGE
GCP jumped in before the project was designed. The GCP team worked directly with the McCarran management team, architecture firm Gensler & Associates, waterproofing consultant CDC, Inc., and general contractor Martin-Harris Construction to walk through details and drawings. GCP was involved in pre-construction meetings and presented the products, specifications, and details, minimizing unforeseen challenges with the drawings and prepping the project to be managed efficiently in the field.
In addition to meeting all aspects of the project’s design, the International Gate Expansion also required working with McCarran’s owner, the Clark County Department of Aviation, to meet its requirements. Specifically, the Department had requirements on the specifications of the concrete being used to construct the tunnel. CalPortland, the concrete provider for the tunnel project, used GCP admixtures to meet the Department’s delivery time limitations and low shrinkage requirements. Admixtures are used to improve or change specific properties in concrete. GCP has an extensive portfolio of concrete admixtures to ensure that all criteria are met and the finished product meets a project’s requirements.
“I have been working with GCP concrete admixtures for 6 years,” says Mark Bliss, CalPortland director of quality control. “As a government project, additional inspections and requirements come into play. GCP’s admixtures worked very well and played a key role, exceeding all minimum design requirements. The Department of Aviation even commented on how they liked the concrete mix and how well it was working.”
PROVEN PRODUCT PERFORMANCE
GCP has been on board numerous major McCarran expansions. GCP products were used in an existing tunnel to the D Gates that was built in 2001. GCP products were also used in the $2.4 billion construction of Terminal 3, which included the addition of 14 gates and an automated people-mover system that connects Terminal 3 with McCarran’s existing Terminal 1 via an underground tunnel.
For the International Gate Expansion Project GCP’s Preprufe® 300R Pre-Applied Waterproofing System was once again selected to deliver the extreme water tightness required for the tunnel transporting international passengers. The product was used on the underslab of the entire concrete floor of the underground tunnel. Preprufe Pre-applied Waterproofing Membranes are unique multi-layered composite waterproofing sheets made from a chemically resistant HDPE film, a highly aggressive pressure sensitive adhesive and a weather resistant protective coating that allows the membrane to fully adhere to freshly poured concrete and prevent water tracking. Unlike some conventional membranes that are vulnerable to water penetration at junctions and penetrations, GCP’s unique Advanced Bond Technology™ creates a seal with the concrete to prevent any entry or migration of moisture around the structure. Preprufe was the obvious choice for its reputation on past McCarran projects and around the world, preventing water ingress through and around the base slab.
The vertical walls of the tunnel were constructed using GCP’s Bituthene® 3000, a high-performance, flexible, preformed waterproof membrane. After the walls were installed, GCP’s Bituthene Deck System® was used on the lid of the tunnel. Bituthene Deck Prep was first installed as a fluid-applied leveling course, followed by a layer of the Bituthene 3000 sheet waterproofing membrane.
“In addition to being high performing, GCP membranes are able to be electronically tested to verify water tightness and they are well suited for the extreme variations in the Las Vegas climate,” says CDC, Inc. manager Michael Lee. “During the day, it can be 102 degrees and then drop to 40 degrees at night. GCP’s products have a high tolerance for the dramatic swing in temperatures.”
Once construction began, GCP was on the tarmac to provide complete site support. The GCP field technicians collaborated with all teams overseeing installation, answering questions, sharing insight, and providing recommendations.
READY FOR THE WORLD
Trusted by airports across the globe, GCP Applied Technologies has been solving complex construction problems with new and revolutionary products and solutions for more than 50 years. The GCP team provided the products, knowledge, data, technologies, services, and people needed to successfully and seamlessly land the McCarran Airport International Gate Expansion Project on time. This powerful combination of products, people, and expertise is GCP’s Blue360SM Total Business Advantage. The Blue360 approach of high performance products accompanied with layers of design and technical expertise, as well as superior solutions, sets GCP apart from the competition and provided a partner that the McCarran team trusts.
In June 2017, McCarran welcomed its first direct international flights to the International Gate Expansion. McCarran now has double the number of gates available to international air carriers, serving additional visitors from around the world.
With more than 50 airport projects completed, GCP continues to innovate and be the choice for airport construction and structures across the globe. ■
For More Information:
For more information about GCP Applied Technologies and products used in the project, visit www.gcpat.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, October 2017
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