Modernisation works on the taxiways at the Warsaw Chopin Airport lasted over a month and were completed in the second half of June. As part of the works, the wearing course of the airport surface and navigation lighting were replaced. As part of the project, MODBIT polymer-modified bitumen was used, whose properties made it possible to achieve a durable and rough surface that meets the highest standards of safety.

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The renovation concerned the taxiways DK A5, A6, A7, A8 as well as DK H2 of the airport located at Okęcie in Warsaw. Colas Polska Sp. z o.o. was responsible for the carrying out of the works. It is a unique project, not only because of the high-performance requirements placed on the surface, but also because of the highest safety rules and time regimes. The works were carried out with the air traffic maintained, which presented many additional challenges. The runway area, for example, could only be approached during the so-called “core night” time, i.e. during the total prohibition of flight operations between 23:30 and 5:30.

“During such an operation we had to mobilise equipment, do the work and clean up after ourselves. Half an hour before the airport opened, a port duty officer would arrive to inspect the area’s cleanliness. There were times when the first plane landed 30 seconds after the airport opened, so it was a very serious situation and there was no room for error. Therefore, working at the airport required a special approach in terms of both planning and execution times” explains Paweł Majewski, Construction Group Manager at Colas Polska Sp. z o.o. “In May alone, we took delivery of more than 500 tonnes of MODBIT modified bitumen as part of his contract, which was possible thanks to excellent organisation and logistics, as well as experience and good communication between the supplier and the contractor.”

The raw material was supplied by the LOTOS Asfalt company, which offers a wide range of bitumen, modified MODBIT, industrial and specialty bitumen. “Modified bitumen has been successfully used for many years to build surfaces with the highest performance requirements in Poland and abroad” says Krzysztof Rodzik, Member of the Management Board at LOTOS Asfalt. “We are an important partner for road construction companies and investors in performing challenging infrastructure tasks, as well as special tasks such as the construction and renovation of airport surfaces. Cooperation with our company is particularly appreciated in places where, in addition to using the products of the highest quality, it is important to secure an appropriate quantity of materials, as well as ensure timely and secure deliveries” emphasises Krzysztof Rodzik.

The choice of this particular bitumen was preceded by very thorough laboratory testing. It was important for the final bitumen surface to meet the demanding standards set for airport surfaces. “Modified bitumen provides resistance to plastic deformation and low-temperature cracking, as well as protection against weather conditions - water, frost and extreme temperatures” mentions Aldona Mizgalska, Director of the Laboratory at Colas Polska Sp. z o.o. “Another advantage of this type of surface, and its superiority over concrete, is that it is resistant to de-icing salts, and that it ensures the required roughness of the airport surface, which is extremely important for safety reasons.”