FORT HOOD — A $10 million project to upgrade the capabilities of Fort Hood’s 10,000-foot flight line is on schedule for completion in May, according to Fort Hood officials.

The project, which has replaced the first 1,000 feet of the northern section of the flight line with a 17-inch concrete landing pad on Robert Gray Army Airfield, 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.

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.

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. "We continued to operate C-5s, 747s and 777s during this time. 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."

dbryant@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7554

(1) comment

Hacksaw

I don't know who Brian Dosa is but I know who Tracy Crawford is and between the two of them they couldn't describe the operational capabilities of a runway if they were reading it out of the manual.
They're all excited about concreting the first 1,000 feet of Runway 15 at GRK. It was stated "the first 1,000 feet at either end take the biggest beating when aircraft come in to land".
If either of them knew anything about aviation they would know the touch down zone of the primary instrument runway is 1,000 feet from the runway threshold. Over 90% of every aircraft that lands in either direction flies over the first 1,000 feet of runway before they ever touch the ground.
I have no doubt the runway was deteriorating and was in need of repair but it was not from landing aircraft. More likely it was from the repeated crossing of that runway by refueling vehicles and other traffic. Some of the damage might even have come from departing heavy aircraft as they turn onto the runway and line up for departure. But it didn't come from landing traffic!
I spent 32 years as an Air Traffic Control Specialist out there and I know where the airplanes touch down. The runway is even painted to indicate to the pilots at what point they are to touch down and it ain't on that first thousand feet!
Next time you want facts from Fort Hood, interview the people who actually make things work instead of a bunch who are typically hiding in an office sitting behind a desk waiting for their 15 minutes of fame.

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