Case Study

Construction | Construction Monitoring

Yeager Airport Runway Reconstruction


In 2015, one of the tallest engineered slopes in the United States experienced a landslide at the end of Runway 5 at Charleston Regional Airport in Charleston, West Virginia. The slope failure not only resulted in significant damage to a church, several residences and local infrastructure, but also caused damage to a portion of the EMAS structure at the end of the runway. Schnabel Engineering was retained to design the repair of the slope to restore full runway operations. Orders Construction, and their consultant CTL Engineering, were retained to build and monitor construction activities before turning the sensemetrics monitoring platform over to the Owner. 

Due to damage of the EMAS structure, as well as the underlying engineered slope, the City retained Schnabel Engineering to both design a permanent repair restoring Runway 5 to fully operational status in accordance with FAA requirements, and implement a permanent structure monitoring solution to prevent a serious slope failure from reoccurring in the future. As part of the ongoing monitoring solution, Schnabel decided to implement a platform that was flexible, easy to manage, and could seamlessly be migrated to ownership by the airport authority once repairs were complete.



Schnabel Engineering selected sensemetrics as the project’s instrumentation and monitoring platform because of the ease of deployment, the range of supported sensors, and the unparalleled sensor data management and visualization capabilities of the software. This provided Schnabel complete flexibility in choosing what sensors would be implemented as part of their design of the multi-element retaining wall structure consisting of a primary 90-foot high retaining wall, tieback anchors, rebar reinforcement, drain membrane and light weight GeoFoam backfill.

The final instrumentation design for the engineered structure consisted of the following:

8 Inclinometers (ShapeArrays)

5 Load Cells

12 Strandmeters

18 Strain Gauges

2 Multiple-Point Borehole Extensometers

The sensemetrics platform was used to monitor the structure throughout the construction phase of the project, supporting safety of operations and prevention of continued damage to surrounding areas. Additionally, the sensemetrics platform and associated sensors were left in place to provide ongoing condition monitoring of the structure in line with project design requirements. The selection of sensemetrics’ cloud platform has provided the airport operator a comprehensive asset management awareness program for critical geotechnical information. The operator can now make informed decisions based on real-time data that is critical to continued operation of the airport and the protection of the surrounding community.

Key Performance Metrics

• Faster installation of automated equipment resulted in a 600% reduction in up-front labor costs, saving the project >$25,000 USD.

• Improved response time to informed decision making played a critical role in rapid progress of construction of the engineered structure.

• The secure cloud data management platform unified all parties, providing timely delivery of reports and analytics for all key project stakeholders.

Effective Risk Reduction

Automated and continuous data collection ensures >99% chance of detecting exceedance of defined performance thresholds before a potentially impactful event.

Project Details

Location: West Virginia, USA

Date: 2015-Ongoing

Owner: Yeager Airport

Engineering: Schnabel Engineering

Instrumentation: CTL Engineering

Project Type: Slope Stabilization, Runway Reconstruction