HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — Business is back to normal for Hill Air Force Base pilots, as the nine month, $44.6 million construction project providing major repairs to the runway is now complete.
Paul Waite, project officer with the 75th Civil Engineer Group, said construction renewed aging infrastructure, and the new runway surface, built to correct standards, will be a major boost to pilot safety and will help protect Air Force assets.
In addition to complete asphalt pavement rehabilitation and reconstruction, the 13,500-foot runway received concrete pavement repairs, wider shoulders, a widening to the south end of the runway taxiway by 55 feet, new overruns, new airfield signs, and new electrical wiring and airfield lighting.
Waite said the project was a success, despite there being obstacles along the way, such as numerous modifications to the contract requiring additional work with the same deadlines and a spring that saw near-record breaking rainfall challenging the ability for construction.
“With every project this size and scope, there will be wrinkles and challenges, but we did really, really well and are very pleased with the finished product,” he said.
The runway was mostly operable during the construction, as it was completed in phases.
The first construction phase started in February with 4,000 feet at the north end of the runway.
When phase two of the project began in June, workers were able to close the entire runway to work on the middle section, as the 388th Fighter Wing operated out of deployed locations.
During construction on the south end of the runway during the third and final phase, pilots used the completed north and middle portions of the runway.
Thomas Murdock, airfield manager with the 75th Operations Support Squadron, said the new runway will dramatically improve pilot safety due to a decrease in foreign object debris.
“The runway project was a tremendous success,” he said. “The old runway was literally falling apart, so having a brand new runway will be a major benefit to Hill Air Force Base and its pilots for years to come,” he said.
The 75th CEG partnered with the Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Research and Development Center in the installation of numerous sensors that will capture pavement stress data for the next years.
The data retrieved for numerous types of aircraft that take off and land at Hill AFB will help them modernize and update the design software used for runway and airfield pavement design.
This data will also be shared with the FAA to improve runway asphalt pavement design at both military and civilian airfields across the country.
Waite said the project was a collaborative effort, and the quality efforts by the entire team, from the engineers to the contractors to the designer, is what made it a success.