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Work officially begins replacing Offutt’s aging runway

A photo for a Phase 0 runway replacement article.

Subcontractors install underground communication duct banks during Phase 0 of the runway replacement project December 9, 2020 at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. (U.S. Air Force photo by Delanie Stafford)

A photo for a Phase 0 runway replacement article.

Maj. Brian Ross, runway project management office deputy director, and Tim Jauhola, Gilbane site superintendent, overlook the construction of duct banks during Phase 0 of the runway replacement project December 9, 2020 at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. (U.S. Air Force photo by Delanie Stafford)

A photo for a Phase 0 runway replacement article.

Subcontractors use an excavator to dig a trench while constructing underground communication duct banks during Phase 0 of the runway replacement project December 9, 2020 at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. (U.S. Air Force photo by Delanie Stafford)

A photo for a Phase 0 runway replacement article.

Subcontractors pour concrete over underground communication duct banks during Phase 0 of the runway replacement project December 9, 2020 at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. (U.S. Air Force photo by Delanie Stafford)

A photo for a Phase 0 runway replacement article.

Officials from the Offutt runway replacement project management office enter a gate from Harlan Lewis Rd. near the east side of the base during Phase 0 of the runway replacement project December 9, 2020 at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Contractors will use this gate to access the site throughout the project. (U.S. Air Force photo by Delanie Stafford)

A photo for a Phase 0 runway replacement article.

A subcontractor dumps base course for a gravel road being built on the north side of the runway during Phase 0 of the runway replacement project December, 9, 2020 at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. The road will be used by contractors to access the site throughout the project. (U.S. Air Force photo by Delanie Stafford)

A photo for a Phase 0 runway replacement article.

Offutt runway project management officials view an RC-135 practicing touch-and-goes while visiting a construction site during Phase 0 of the runway replacement project December 9, 2020 at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. (U.S. Air Force photo by Delanie Stafford)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --

Work has officially started to completely replace Offutt’s aging runway as Phase 0 of the $143.9 million project began recently.

Phase 0 consists of a variety of preparatory contractor work prior to the full airfield closure in March 2021 that will help them meet the 18-month replacement schedule.

“Seeing this project begin is exciting,” said Col. Gavin Marks, 55th Wing commander. “It’s the culmination of an incredible amount and years of hard work and dedication from not only the 55th Wing, Air Combat Command and the Air Force, but also our local, state and federally-elected officials, and I cannot thank them enough.”

Contractors have been erecting construction zone fencing, building a temporary gravel road that will allow them to bring in equipment, materials and personnel from off-base and placing conduit for communications.

“The trenching and boring for communications is by far the large movement they’re doing during Phase 0,” said Rob Hufford, 55th Civil Engineer Squadron. “There are certain lines that cross under the existing runway that will be demolished during the first few months of Phase 1, so these new lines need to be up and functioning prior to the existing lines are demolished to avoid a loss of service.”

Over the next few weeks, contractors will be bringing in more and more materials as they continue their Phase 0 efforts, including roughly 180 trucks a day for the temporary road.

“Aside from a few hiccups in the schedule, which are fairly common at the beginning of a contract, things are going well,” Hufford said. “We anticipate all of the Phase 0 work to be complete by the end of January or early February.”

Once all of the flying operations have transitioned to the Lincoln Airport in March, the airfield will completely shut down and Phase 1 will commence.

“The no-kidding, heavy lifting is just around the corner,” Marks said, “and I know we will be ready to execute thanks to the tremendous work of our Runway Project Management Office and our senior leaders across the wing.”

The entire replacement of the 80-year-old runway, which includes full-depth concrete end sections, an asphalt center section, asphalt shoulders and a new lighting system, should be complete by the fall of 2022.