$98 Million Runway Overhaul Set to Begin at DAFB - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

$98 Million Runway Overhaul Set to Begin at DAFB

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - A massive project costing nearly $100 million is about to begin at Dover Air Force Base.

The Air Force is doing a major runway overhaul. The main runway is going to be shutting down for that starting Monday. That runway dates back to the 1940's.

Base leadership has been planning to replace it since 2005.

"We've been fighting the runway concrete quality and have had to do lots of investment in infrastructure to repair patches and keep up with the cracking and stuff that we have," said Lt. Col. Scott Bryant, commander of the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron.

For a number of reasons, including that combat operations ended in Afghanistan late last year, the base believes it's a good time for this project.

"It's definitely help... The timeframe, this moment in time, is helpful," Lt. Col. Mark Radio, 436th Operation Support Squadron Director of Operations, said.

Friday, the contractors working on the project were at the base.

"It's a bit of a non-standard thing," said Col. Michael Grismer, commander of the 436th Airlift Wing. "But I wanted to get them all here, so they could meet everybody and also so I could go through what I see as the biggest challenges."

Col. Grismer is hoping the construction crews will get the work done on schedule, perhaps ahead of schedule.

"The shorter the timeline for construction, the shorter the time period that we operate off 6,000 feet."

From early summer through December, the base will only have open a short 6,000 ft. Strip of its secondary runway. All this will impact operations at Dover. A lot of what is does in Delaware will instead happen out of a base in New Jersey.

But the hope is all the work will be worth it in the end. The new runway is supposed to last a long time.

"We're shooting for that 75 to 100 years, uh, with, with proper maintenance," Lt. Col. Bryant said.

The base should be able to return to mostly normal operations by December though the entire construction process is going to run through mid-2016.

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