Sarasota Airport Master Drainage Improvements


Project Overview

Location: Sarasota, FL

Client: State of Florida

Completion Date: 2020


The Sarasota Airport Master Drainage Improvements project is a part of a larger statewide stormwater initiative. The project’s engineering firm joined forces with the University of Florida to complete a drainage study. Many of Florida’s airports have large lakes for stormwater; however, this poses a problem as birds are often attracted to the water hindering safe aircraft operation.


The concept behind this project was to dig deeper lakes on-site and install gabion baskets, creating a maze for the water to flow through. By doing this, the lakes are reduced in size and have a smaller footprint, thus attracting fewer birds. Additionally, this process allows for the water to be thoroughly cleaned before draining into the ocean, keeping other wildlife safe. 


QE’s scope of work on this project included digging two lakes about five feet deeper than initially designed, and the team was able to reuse the exported material to fill in three smaller ponds. QE also ran utilities across the site and rerouted the perimeter road, as well.


Project Challenges and Mitigations

This project required construction of a 25’ trench down the middle of the airport, running perpendicular to two runways. This wasn’t so much a challenge as it was a unique attribute of this project, as it’s not every day that utility crews install pipe while airplanes are taking off and landing overhead. 


The timeframe on this job left no room for error, as QE only had 21 days to perform the entire utility installation. In order to meet the deadline, QE scheduled two utility crews to work twelve-hour shifts every day for three weeks. QE’s crews not only met, but exceeded the tight time frame while completing this complex scope of work.

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