Runway Rehabilitation, Cambridge Airport

We were commissioned to complete a feasibility study for strengthening the concrete runway and associated taxiway serving a major maintenance hangar to accommodate proposed aircraft traffic.


This study concluded that an asphalt overlay was required to provide structural capabilities and compliant gradients. It also highlighted the need for additional works including upgrading the drainage and AGL systems, a new taxiway to ensure continued access for the hangar and reconstruction of the hangar apron.

Following approval of the feasibility study, our Aviation design team completed the outline design, produced the Employer’s Requirements, and collated the tender documents. We project managed the tender process including a value engineering process prior to contract award. A key output from this process was improvements in the time to reduce reflected cracking in the asphalt overlay through the incorporation of a polymer modified bitumen.

Construction was procured through the NEC Contract and we provided full time site supervision duties for both the day and night shifts, plus head office support throughout the construction period. Prior to construction, we organised a workshop for the client’s project team on lessons learnt regarding the NEC Contract from recent experience of the Guernsey Airport runway rehabilitation project.


Key details

Project name

Runway Rehabilitation, Cambridge Airport



Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group (MADG)




Services provided

- Airside planning

- Airfield pavement design

- Airfield Ground Lighting (AGL) design

- Project management

- Supervision


To minimise disruption to airport operations, runway rehabilitation projects are generally undertaken at night and safely handed back to the airport for commencement of daytime operations. The reduced working time at night must be considered to determine programme durations and capital cost. At Cambridge, stakeholder requirements provided a programme constraint where undertaking the work at night would result in an extension to the agreed programme.

Regarding the design, a major challenge was the development of the geometrical vertical alignment. The runway comprised a ‘v’ shape profile and centre line drainage. For compliancy this needed to be reprofiled by minimising required material and relocating the central drainage network to the normal runway edge. In addition, buildability was key as the design required the construction to be completed during night-time possession periods, allowing the runway to be operational during the day.

Airport aerial view - CBG


To overcome the programme constraints and ensure a timely and safe delivery of the project, we worked closely with the client, stakeholders and contractor to develop a delivery strategy including a 24-hour working day. This involved a 10-day runway closure period where 10,000 tonnes of asphalt material were laid during day and night-time working periods in 9 days.

Our Aviation design team incorporated their extensive runway rehabilitation knowledge to design compliant geometrical profiles, minimising asphalt material and thus reducing the project carbon footprint. Using lessons learned from previous projects, the team incorporated their buildability knowledge to ensure the construction phasing did not disrupt airport operations.


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