Air base construction ahead of schedule

COLUMBUS – (AP) Columbus Air Force Base officials say construction of a center runway is ahead of its projected late-August completion target.

The Commercial Dispatch reports the work began in March and officials say it is about two-third complete.

The $31.29-million project is the most extensive overhaul to the two-mile runway since it was built in 1959.

The 300-foot-wide runway’s 10,000 foot-long asphalt section is being replaced with a 10-inch thick, 200-foot-wide concrete surface. Outside 50-foot-wide runway edges are being replaced with new asphalt.

Pheba-based Babcock Construction was awarded the contract in 2012 as the project’s general contractor.

“One of the challenges with the project (is) obviously the wet spring that we’ve had. There’s been a lot of rain,” said project manager John Trumm.

Lt. Col. David Meissen said the base’s other two runways as well as runways at Golden Triangle Regional Airport are being used for pilot training missions while the work is going on.

Meissen said the base flies nearly 270 sorties each day, so completion of the center runway will be welcome and used to more evenly distribute those deployments.

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