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Harrisburg International Airport Levee Project Wins National Engineering Recognition
Publication Date
May 25th 2022, 9:00 am

Urban is pleased to announce that the Harrisburg International Airport (HIA) Levee System Rehabilitation project won a National Recognition Award in the American Council of Engineering Companies’ (ACEC) 2022 Engineering Excellence Awards competition—the “Academy Awards of the engineering industry.” The award was presented at the organization’s annual black-tie awards gala held at the Grand Hyatt Washington in DC.


“We would like to congratulate the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority (SARAA) and other key partners on the national recognition of this important project,” said Eric DeDominicis, PE, deputy practice leader for aviation at Urban. “Far too often, infrastructure challenges are not addressed until there has been a disaster. In the case of SARAA’s levee at HIA, the authority was able to work with our capable team to resolve a water resource challenge before failure.”


“Strong leadership from Tim Edwards and Dave Spaulding of SARAA, as well as close collaboration with KC Construction, contributed to a successful team effort that led to the project’s effective completion,” said Brian Peda, PE, regional manager for Central Pennsylvania at Urban. “Efficiently extending the life of the Levee was the ultimate goal, and we are proud to have had this project recognized at both the state and national levels.”


HIA’s levee system was constructed in 1958 to prevent flooding from the Susquehanna River onto the Airport’s runway. Only minor maintenance and repair work had been performed on the levee since its construction. During the past 60 years, erosion, vegetative growth, ice jams, and other natural forces reduced the cross section and condition of the levee that protects the Airport’s infrastructure. SARAA sought a consulting firm to provide design and construction management services for the rehabilitation of the Airport’s flood dike and levee system. The project improved drainage by rehabilitating 13,025 feet of the system along the river.


Urban was tasked with providing design services and construction administration/management services under an on-call contract with SARAA. The objective was to rehabilitate the existing flood dike and levee system using Articulated Concrete Block (ACB) mats along the slope and rebuilding of the riprap toe at the river’s edge. Despite construction delays due to COVID, the team was able to reach substantial completion in July 2021, four months ahead of the baseline schedule completion. With the effects of climate change and increased flooding becoming more common, making sure that important local infrastructure like HIA is protected from future flooding is of utmost importance.


ACEC’s annual Engineering Excellence Awards competition recognizes engineering firms for projects that demonstrate an exceptional degree of innovation, complexity, achievement and value. Projects from all across the world are rated on the basis of: uniqueness and/or innovative application of new or existing techniques; future value to, and enhancing public awareness/ enthusiasm for the engineering profession; social, economic, and sustainable development considerations; complexity; and successful fulfillment of client/owner’s needs, including schedule and budget.