According to the EAA website, approximately 550,000 people attended the air show in 2015 and over 10,000 aircraft flew into the area. For the week of AirVenture, Wittman Regional Airport is the busiest airport in the world.
Initially, OMNNI’s site design engineers worked closely with the EAA to identify and prioritize improvements that would enhance the experience for EAA members and AirVenture visitors. A site implementation plan was developed which identified the following site improvements:
• A revised site layout providing better navigation through the site.
• A new main entrance to guide visitors more efficiently to key destinations such as the warbird alley, home-built and vintage aircraft areas, educational forums and food vendor locations.
• New pathways and roadways to better separate pedestrians and vehicles.
• Improved way-finding signage.
• Upgraded on-site transportation equipment and facilities, including tram services and a pedestrian-only zone.
• Improved shower and bathroom facilities on the grounds and in camping areas.
• Hundreds of additional electrical hookups for campers.
• Campground social pavilions.
• Expanded wireless Internet access.
“Reconfiguration of the site also opened up space for additional exhibits,” said Bob Givens, P.E., P.H., OMNNI’s project manager. “OMNNI provided site design of the new outdoor exhibit area, which included a 40% increase in space for future exhibitors.”
Additional improvements included the design of roads and pathways. Construction of approximately three miles of new pavement incorporated green initiatives, including the use of 20,000 tons of recycled asphalt and aggregate.
Porous asphalt pavement and biofilters were designed to reduce downstream water quantity and to improve quality. Strips of porous asphalt pavement were installed on one side of the roadway to filter stormwater before entering a porous stone aggregate layer that further filters and treats the water.
OMNNI’s geotechnical and materials testing staff provided asphalt mix design for the permeable pavement and advised on cell construction.
An additional green feature included the installation of Geoweb adjacent to the gravel roads to help reduce stormwater runoff and eliminate pollutants.
Since the initial site improvements were completed in 2009, OMNNI continues to work with the EAA to provide site engineering and design services. The following site design projects have been completed.
• Kilps, Knapp, and Taxiway Cafés
• Fly Market
• Rolls Royce, Pilatus, Jeppeson, Embry Riddle Exhibit Pads
• Vintage Aircraft Concessions
• Aeroshell Square Headquarters
• Warbird Improvements
• North Exhibit Improvements
• North 40 Shower Facility
• Embraer, Miller Electric, Rockwell Collins, Warbirds, North 40 Exhibit Pads
• Campground pad prototypes
• Evening Entertainment Center
• Hangar B Restroom
• Ford Exhibit
• Service operations site
• Aviation Explorer Post
• Staff House Addition
• Camp Ground Roads
• Aviation Gateway Park
• Vintage Aircraft Revitalization
• VAA Tall Pines Building
• Glatz Creek Culvert Replacement
For Bob Givens, each project has its own unique challenges and rewards, but the biggest reward is the joy he sees on the faces of the visitors strolling through the AirVenture site each year.
“All these site improvements require extensive coordination and collaboration to meet tight deadlines,”said Givens. “Wisconsin’s construction season is very short, but EAA’s construction season is even shorter. All designs need to be completed with permits approved by May for summer construction, and construction needs to be completed by the start of the air show in late July.
Even with these tight deadlines, it’s been a pleasure working as part of the team designing a safe and efficient venue for aviation enthusiasts from all over the world to enjoy.”
This year’s AirVenture celebration runs July 24-31, 2016.
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