The project to upgrade the capabilities of Robert Gray Army Airfield’s 10,000-foot flight line is on schedule for completion in May, according to Fort Hood officials.
The $10 million project, which has replaced the first 1,000 feet of the northern section of the flight line with a 17-inch concrete landing pad, is considered to be a permanent fix to the damage caused to the runway by landing aircraft, said Brian Dosa, Fort Hood Directorate of Public Works director.
“It’s really a 10,000-foot runway, which a C-5 (Galaxy military transport aircraft) needs to land, 200 feet wide, and really the first 1,000 feet at either end take the biggest beating when aircraft come in to land,” said Dosa. “More of our traffic comes in from the north going south, so this end of the runway has taken a beating over the years. It was asphalt and we really couldn’t repair it very well anymore. So we decided to repair it with a really good, permanent solution by making it concrete.”
The southern end of the runway was already concrete, he said. The runway is jointly used and maintained by both Fort Hood and the city of Killeen and is utilized by both military and commercial aircraft.
The construction did not affect any air traffic from landing at Fort Hood at all, whether military or civilian, said Trace Crawford, airfield manager.
“The majority of the aircraft continued to operate from here,” he said. “The impact to Killeen was minimal, if at all. On days when we really need some of those navigation aids (impacted by the construction), we have the ability to suspend construction for a period of time so we can utilize them.”
A total of 3,000 feet of flight line was shut down to account for the safety of contractors working on the project, which began in April 2017, Dosa said. The original asphalt was torn out, the base rebuilt and the concrete put in.
What remains to be done is to connect the concrete portion to the rest of the flight line using asphalt, finish expansion joints in the concrete, add grooving to keep planes from slipping on the concrete, re-stripe the finished product and add the proper lighting, all of which are expected to be done by the end of May, he said.
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