Project design and planning took twice as long as the actual construction for the $81.5 million, three-phased project. The runway project replaced 9,501 feet of pavement on the installation’s north taxiway, south taxiway, and runway 05-23. It also upgraded lighting and reflective painting throughout the airfield between June 15 and October 13, 2021.
The airfield’s critical mission sets made it important to minimize the airfield closure time. Its primary user is the 43rd Air Mobility Operations Group, which is a unique standalone group responsible for rapid strategic deployment of forces assigned to Joint Special Operations Command, the U.S. Army’s XVIII Airborne Corps, and 82nd Airborne Division. The group provides combatant commanders with Airborne Joint Forcible Entry, combat airlift, aeromedical evacuation, aerial port, command and control, and other enabling capabilities.
The crews began by removing the existing pavement, which was crushed up and recycled for reuse. When one team completed its work, the next team moved in to perform its task. Once the concrete, asphalt, and dirt were taken care of, the entire runway surface was cemented with a mixture that was injected and tilled into the ground.
During this same timeline, the airfield upgraded its lighting with LEDs along the runway edge, the threshold, sequenced flashing approach, signage, taxiways, aprons, and the precision approach path. The lighting required 300,000 linear feet of new conduit. In addition to this, 103,000 square feet of permanent retroreflective paint was applied within the last 10 days of the project. This allowed the airfield to be Instrument Flight Rules certified.
RC Construction and Millstone Weber were awarded the contract to complete the construction of the runway, lights, and painting at Pope Army Airfield.