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South runway reopened, ready for operations

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shane Dunaway
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Senior leaders here held a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 17 to commemorate the completion of the south runway repair project after roughly 18 months of construction.

Brig. Gen. Phil Ruhlman, 36th Wing commander, wielded the ceremonial scissors, snipping the ribbon and certifying the runway is ready to roll.

"Andersen's runways are the core to our combat capabilities and humanitarian assistance capabilities," General Ruhlman said.

The completed runway project wraps up a five-year project to replace both runways. The $35 million north runway repair project concluded in May 2007.

"The reopening of the south runway will have a huge impact on military ops," said Capt. Anthony Hayes, 36th Operations Support Squadron. "Andersen Air Force Base is a vital hub for U.S. Transportation Command, U.S. Pacific Command and our joint and multinational partners. Having two fully operational runways allows Andersen Air Force Base to significantly increase combat capability and further our country's national security objectives."

The south runway spans more than two miles long and boasts a width of approximately 200 feet. The runway enables the mission here through its own unique capabilities and added safety features.

"The grooving that extends the length of the runway improves tractions and drastically reduces skidding due to water or rubber buildup," Captain Hayes said. "The upgraded BAK-12 systems, or the arresting cables at each end of the runway, are used by fighter aircraft should the pilot encounter a situation that prevents the aircraft from stopping under its own power. The all-concrete runway, with a compressive strength of 5,000 pounds per square inch, gives the runway a life expectancy of approximately 30-40 years."

Captain Hayes lauded the efforts of the construction crews who made this project's early completion possible.

"Tutor Perini and Black Construction Corporations have done a phenomenal job in upgrading the runway or what I refer to as one of Andersen's most critical weapon systems," he said. "If we don't maintain these runways, all the aircraft we have parked on our ramps are useless."