Featured Stories

Runway Success: Allan Myers Earns Ray Brown Airport Award

This article appears in the Summer 2024 print edition of NAPA Quarterly. Subscribe here.
runway success allan myers earns
By Ty Johnson
Editorial Director

When the Lancaster Airport Authority set its sights on recontouring its runway, it contracted with Allan Myers to tackle the renovation. That work led to Allan Myers earning the 2023 Ray Brown Airport Award.

One of the oldest inland cities in the country, Lancaster, Penn., is set between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, but it’s not only the town’s proximity to major cities that makes its airport the third busiest in the state.

Originally included in William Penn’s namesake woods, the town today is best known for being a main hub within Pennsylvania Dutch Country, where Amish and Mennonite families keep their community-focused traditions alive.

“There’s a lot of tourists coming in there,” Allan Myers Superintendent Mike Fitzgerald said of Lancaster Airport. “But there’s also a flight school. The majority of the air traffic in there is flight school for both helicopters and planes.”

When the Lancaster Airport Authority set its sights on recontouring the runway, they contracted with Allan Myers to tackle the renovation, beginning in 2022 with phase four, and continuing with phase five in summer 2023. That work led to Allan Myers being recognized with the 2023 Ray Brown Airport Award.

While other contractors worked on the initial phases, Fitzgerald said Allan Myers saw their role as meeting the expectations of the owner, although the project team promoted a more efficient approach to traffic management than originally proposed.

runway success allan myers earns

When the Lancaster Airport Authority originally came to Allan Myers with the project, they proposed shutting the runway down each week on Friday night for a weekend of work before opening it back up on Monday.

“Their driver for revenue is flights and the longer that we take to complete the project, the fewer flights they can have during that time. So we proposed to the airport that we can be more efficient and provide a better product at the end of the day by providing more continuous paving by doing one total shutdown,” Allan Myers Project Manager Allison Whalen said. “We were able to work with them and they liked the outcome so much after our first phase, that’s what they’ve been doing moving forward, which really helps out when it comes to quality. It’s actually tougher for them to do a bunch of micro shutdowns throughout two months instead of just doing one month — 30 days around the clock.”

While historically the bulk of traffic at the airfield has been private, airport officials hinted there were long-term plans to eventually add service from a commercial airline, which comes with increased traffic, security, and other regulations to consider.

runway success allan myers earns

“Years ago, they realized that they need to recontour it and grade it so that it meets current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards,” Fitzgerald said. “And instead of doing the whole runway at once, the airport chopped it up into different sections. We did the original section back in 2022. Then we did another section last year. The award was phase four and phase five combined.”

And while the Allan Myers team officially took home the award following the 2024 NAPA Annual Meeting in Orlando in January, their crews will return once more to the airport in Lititz this summer to finish the final phase. Fitzgerald said it’s also the largest section, noting that the project will involve recontouring the second half of the runway as well as an additional, intersecting runway.


runway success allan myers

The award-winning project stayed on schedule despite the discovery of rock that would need to be blasted away.

“It’s Pennsylvania limestone. It’s very hard. You wouldn’t really be able to hammer it. We would have really been way beyond schedule,” Fitzgerald said. “But we were able to blast and perform these blasts concurrently with the paving preparation and even the paving while keeping the airport half-open.”

While Allan Myers crews worked on the main runway, an auxiliary runway kept some of the smaller plane traffic moving along.

Getting the project done in the proposed 28-day window also meant pivoting quickly to materials shortages. Whalen said there were still hangover supply chain issues that prevented their procurement of plastic pipes, so the company took on the added cost to complete the project with concrete pipes, which were more readily available.

Thinking and reacting quickly on airport projects comes with the institutional knowledge Allan Myers has collected on previous airport projects, most notably at Baltimore-Washington International. Paving Superintendent Bruce Walther said one secret to Allan Myers’ success has been the integration of the business units across the company’s geographic footprint. Best practices from plants and crews in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and Maryland are all tapped to ensure quality pavements.

“The resources are readily shared to ensure success,” Walther said.

Survey and paving crews from the BWI project, too, contributed to the effort at the Lancaster Airport.

“Our survey department played a huge role,” Whalen said. “They actually rode the back of the paver to make sure every 50 feet we were within that tolerance, because if not, we had to back up while it was still hot.”

Tracking the mix temperature and trucks meant load tracking through FleetWatcher, Walther said.

“FleetWatcher app tied together the production, shipping, and delivery,” he said. “It gives you real-time data during the production and delivery process: Exact locations of where the trucks are, how many loads are on the road, how many loads are in the silo, how many trucks are on the job. That information is available to me as the superintendent right at my fingertips.”

runway success allan myers earns


When Lancaster Airport was first developed back in 1935, the runway was built with a swale, creating safety issues during rain events. Allan Myers was brought in to reduce the hydroplaning risks during runoff by crowned and super-elevated sections of the runway to allow for drainage on both sides.

It’s been a multi-year effort, with the final section set to be completed by July 2 – putting the Allan Myers teams on a timeline to complete the project just in time for Independence Day for the second summer straight.

“It’s very similar to the last phase, “Fitzgerald said. “It’s three times the amount of paving.”

Which means three times the hot-joint paving Allan Myers has become known for after its Maryland crews developed and utilized the approach on its Baltimore-Washington International Airport project.

It also means continued transport of the P-401 asphalt mix from its Paradise plant also located in Lancaster County. During the previous phase, trucks and personnel from across Pennsylvania and into Maryland pitched in to haul 13,354 tons of the mix.

“A large portion of our success is driven by the mix coming out of the plant and timely transportation coordination with the trucking to be able to keep our operations moving efficiently,” Walther said.

Fitzgerald and Whalen concurred.

“This blacktop has to stay hot and it has to be mixed right, starting at the plant. And then, transportation has to do their job to get it to us quickly, but safely at the same time, and have everything tarped correctly so that when it goes into the hopper, to the paver, it’s ready to go and setting them up for success,” Walther said. “There’s a huge chain – a lot of things have to go right. And just kudos to all the different facets of our company and people that manage them and all the guys and gals on the ground that can make that blacktop that’s coming out of the paver be successful. There’s a lot of upfront work that people don’t realize.”


“The Runway 8-26 Reconstruction Project included variable depth milling and overlay with P-401 asphalt.

Prior to starting the project, Allan Myers completed a thorough, four-month planning process and collaborated with other Allan Myers locations to capitalize on their experience.

Even with the challenges of a strict, 28-day runway shutdown and the presence of unexpected rock, with careful planning, strategic coordination, and a focus on quality, Allan Myers completed this high-quality project on time, safely, and in accordance with stringent FAA requirements.”

NAPA Awards

Related Articles

Back to top button