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The Argyle airport company have announced they have tested the runway for compaction and have found that it is not at least one part is not correctly compacted.  They said that they tested it in their new laboratory at the airport.  I am not sure, but I would imagine that they have carried out a Proctor test.

The fill also covered several areas of swamp, and I am told by local farmers, it covered several areas which were always wet because of springs.   So some areas are filled over swamp and springs and some over solid rock. This make the engineering of the runway very suspect.   If the springs originate from high altitude water catchments’ percolating under considerable pressure, they could eventually be forced upwards and appear on the runway or any surrounding area thereof.

All the engineers at the site are aware, or should have been aware, that the correct compaction procedure was not used on the site.  They also know that compaction did not take place layer upon layer, compacted every 12 to 18 inches.

Now that it’s not been done in that way, it may well be that the equipment shown in the lead photo should be used. The correct compaction, according to FAA rules, is 100 per cent for runway, cross-runways, leader and taxi roads and the airport apron or aircraft parking area.

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It’s not just the runway that required compacting, but also the every area of the site and of course in particular the runway.   You never know when an aircraft in an emergency will run off the runaway, so the ground must be compacted everywhere.   As a general practice, fills that are part of site grading not related to load bearing, are specified to be compacted to 90-92 per cent of standard Proctor maximum dry density.

I doubt very much that the proposed method of covering over the Yambou River will ever stand the required test for such a structure to withstand weights of up to 600 tonnes.

After all, that rework and compaction is completed in 2017, we must look at the sub base, that is, the layer of stone that they previously laid and had to take up.   A rethink is required of how to lay that sub base.

The stone sub base goes down on the 100 per cent compacted soil or fill. It would be far better engineering if it was stabilised, mixed dry with cement and laid dry as what is known as lean mix, then rolled tight with a heavy vibrating drum roller. Instead of all one sized stone sub base, there should be a mixture of sizes including some fines. Stabilised base sub base should be used on airport runways, taxiways, terminal apron and aircraft parking areas.

What will they do with the thousands of slings of bulk cement they currently have? When they leave the cement works they are well packed, with a moisture and watertight plastic lining or membrane.   But when I inspected them on Friday, I noticed that many of the big bags are punctured, therefore destroying the integrity of the packaging. Those damaged slings will take in moisture and the cement will begin to cure — go hard.

Lets hope they are not silly enough to cement over the apron before it receives the proper compaction treatment, Because it will all need to come up again.

Peter Binose 

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

5 replies on “Argyle Airport — the biggest blunder yet”

  1. Derrick Anderson says:

    Your argument seems plausible. However what is your area of expertise? I am just skeptical of the political hacks who masquerade as subject matter experts.

  2. Someone is lacking in basic intelligence and common sense. Only a total idiot would plan to build an airport on top of a swamp.

  3. peter binose says:

    What a mess, it takes me back to when I warned that taking money from the Iranians whilst they were incarcerating and butchering Christians in Iran. Taking money from them and then going to the UN and voting favourably for them whilst the rest of the world wanted to sanction them for that very behaviour. My warning was that such behaviour on the instruction of our government could well bring a curse on government members and the airport. I think at the time I called it the curse of the Christian blood, and named the airport the Christian Blood Airport. Just look back at the comments on the many IWN 2012 articles.

    UK British Airways
    US Embassy Barbados
    US Delta Airways

  4. Peter Binose says:

    I had hoped they would have made special provision for the waste water, rain water from the apron and aircraft parking areas.

    The water from these areas will be highly polluted with oils, fuel residues from engine exhaust, tyre rubber pollutants‘, and hydraulic fluids, to name but a few. Some of these pollutants’ may contain heavy metals like lead and mercury. Which if they get into the food chain will cause serious damage to humans.

    I inspected the site and believe they intend dumping this water and its poisonous content into the Yambu river and consequently thereon into the sea, untreated.

    The drainage system that I inspected does not provide for storage and safe disposal of these fluids and waters. Because the way the tides run, this will cause serious damage to reefs between the airport and Kingstown and on, even as far away as Bequia. It will also kill sea plant life and fish, contaminating lobster and fish and rendering it unfit for human, and even animal consumption.

    The fluids should be collected in a separator trap and the pollutants’ separated from the water before discharge.

    There will be a serious pollutant reaction to marine life if chemicals are used to control weeds on the site.

    The golf course at Canouan has caused the islands reef to completely die where the chemical run off from the golf course has killed the reef and marine life.

    It would be much respected if the now only real local expert in these matters, Ms Marlon Mills would give us some input. Please Marlon can you comment?

    CC FAA

  5. Errol Marquis says:

    I may be an idiot for making this remark but when something is being constructed inspection by qualified departments are supposed to be carried out in different stages, if this is the case why wasn’t it carried out? If it was,there supposed to be a stamp or signature on the applicable document.
    Peter said he had been told by local farmers about swamps and springs, did he ask those farmers if they had any objections to the airport being built there?. Everyone knows that there were objections by several people for the airport being built.
    I suspect that this is just another religious and political blunder in which case who pays for all the testing now and why wasn’t it tested long ago.
    I have a suggestion it may be a stupid one because I am not qualified, why don’t they make piles out of all those test holes to support the weight of the runway. In Madeira the runway is built on piles.
    It’s always easy to point fingers but always remember whoever is pointing the finger look carefully because they are pointing one back to themselves.

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