Wednesday 5th February 2014 and the UK was experiencing yet another of the big winter storms. Unfortunately this was also the date set by AIDAC for the movement of the threshold at Birmingham Airport’s newly extended runway so we had no choice but to get out there and brave the thrashing rain.
The ground workers (asphalting gangs) had been working for months to construct the A45 diversion, moving thousands of tonnes of infill in order to lay the new runway extension. The new AGL and approach lighting had been installed and CAA Engineers were poised to reprogram the Instrument Landing System.
At 0600 hrs on 6th January every aircraft in the world would be expecting a new runway marking layout and so, despite the predicted storm, Roadgrip had to re-mark that runway with clean, sharp lines on time.
Between 2300 and 0530 the following morning, over 3000 m2 of paint had to be removed from its current layout and applied to the new one…whatever the weather.
In the absence of a paint that will stick to wet asphalt, Roadgrip mobilised a team of 14 men, 4 paint machines and a fleet of hot compressed air gas driers together with their 42,000 psi Trackjet machine to remove the existing markings. As luck would have it, the rain stopped falling an hour before we started and the high winds helped to dry the surface.
Whilst the programme was tight, the last paint was applied at 0530 – half an hour before the runway reopened – and the project was completed as promised. All in a day’s work at Roadgrip.