Construction team prepares for winter

  • Published
  • By L. Cunningham, 55th Wing Public Affairs

Offutt’s runway construction project is nearing the halfway point as cold weather season approaches the Midwest.

The project is replacing a runway which hadn’t undergone major reconstruction in over 60 years. It will ensure sustainable flight safety and eliminate issues caused by the deterioration taking place on the previous runway.

“We have remained on time and on budget throughout this project,” said Rob Hufford, 55th Civil Engineering Squadron. “I am proud of the diligent efforts of our team these past few months and look forward to a successful second half of the project.” 

Demolition is now complete. They have lowered the ground table and begun laying concrete in various locations across the flight line, to include the mass parking apron and runway. The construction is now in the production phase and completion of trench work for wiring of runway lights, which is the last step before placing asphalt on the shoulders.

Hufford said, one of the biggest obstacles in construction is temperature. With winter forthcoming, the team will continue paving for as long as possible. Once it’s too cold to lay pavement or concrete, work will continue on the edge lighting system, along with crushing and removing the old runway.

“Winter will shut down paving operations,” said Hufford. “When water is frozen, it doesn’t react and place right. Also, when frozen, it is larger in volume. This prevents the aggregate from getting to a proper tightness when compacted.”

The impact winter would have on paving operations was anticipated prior to beginning construction. That is why the project started when it did. While unable to pave in winter, the team will complete ancillary tasks. Once it is spring, they will go back to paving.

“I am very pleased with the progress made on this project,” said Col. Kristen Thompson, 55th Wing commander. “We are also very thankful for the partnerships we solidified with the Lincoln Airfield Authority and the Nebraska Air National Guard 155 ARW, but we look forward to bringing our Airmen back to Offutt.  Although it’s challenging to fly from a place other than our home airfield, we have learned a ton and we plan to take those lessons learned and apply them to future operational constructs.  I do want to highlight the tremendous Airmen of the 55th—their dedication to the mission despite the challenges of operating from Lincoln have been remarkable.”

The new runway is expected to be complete in September 2022.