Runway construction paves way for future flight

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Emily E. Amyotte
  • 190th Air Refueling Wing public affairs
Since February 15, 2017, Forbes Field and local contractors have been performing a major construction overhaul on the runway to improve flight operations and ensure the safety of Airmen and aircraft alike.

The current runway had been in place since the 1950s and was coming up on the end of its useable life cycle. Once the new project is finished, the runway will not need any significant construction for another 30 years.

“Continued operations under these conditions generates pavement failures, pop-ups and blowouts,” said Maj. Noah Diehl, 190th deputy base civil engineer. “These hazards have potential to disrupt flying operations or cause a significant danger to aircrew and aircraft.”

The construction is estimated to be finished in September 2019 and involves two phases. The first phase will be to remove the old concrete and pour a new slab along the northwest half of the long runway before the cross section. Once completed, the runway will be its original length but the width will be reduced to 150 feet. During the second phase, the remainder of the runway will be completed.

Both phases will be significant endeavors; tearing up over 20-inch-deep concrete, replacing the sub base and drainage and installing new lighting along the outer edges. Between the two phases there will be a six month pause in construction.

“Extensive effort has been undertaken to repair drainage and to lower the grade between the two runway ends,” Diehl said. “The lighting and runway paint stripping will be complete for a full and open runway between phases.”

Minor adaptations will have to be made during the construction. However, the overall mission and operations will remain unaffected and in motion. When completed, this project will only benefit the mission and Airmen of the 190th and enable the continuation of a critical mission.

“Flying and flying support is a crucial part of our mission,” Diehl said. “We need to have a functioning runway so we can ensure the viability and future of our unit.”