Earthquake-resistant airport Mexico

Witteveen+Bos is helping to develop an earthquake-resistant design for Mexico City’s new international airport, which will be among the largest in the world. A Dutch-Mexican joint venture was awarded the contract for this project in early 2015. The project scope covers the design of the airside infrastructure, consisting of runways, taxiways, platforms, buildings and tunnels.

Mexico City was originally built on the site of an ancient lake high in the mountains. Over the years, a very weak, thick package of sediments has built up on the original lake bed. Parts of Mexico City subside by 20 to over 30 centimetres per year as a result of deep groundwater extraction. In addition, the section of the city where the new airport will be built is frequently subject to flooding due to heavy rainfall. At the same time, the region is prone to powerful earthquakes. The combination of very powerful earthquakes and special soil conditions, which in some cases can result in very large ground motion amplifications, requires careful specialist analysis. The challenge for the Witteveen+Bos seismology team is to deliver a design that can withstand earthquakes of such magnitude.

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