MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. --
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. – Runway 01Right (01R) is reopening today for use after 10 months of construction.
The runway was closed on March 19, 2022, and is scheduled to reopen today, Jan. 19, 2023. During this time, aircraft landing and departing McConnell completed all operations using only the second runway. Completing runway 01R's construction allows for safer aircraft operations by mitigating air congestion for the air traffic control tower.
Snodgrass & Sons Construction Co. Inc., a local business based in Wichita, Kansas, was awarded a $9.5 million contract to complete the construction of runway 019R.
"Our two runways are arguably McConnell's most critical infrastructure, and having two of them in good repair provides key flexibility and redundancy to support our daily mission," said Col. Joshua Zaker, 22nd Operations Group commander. "Not only do our runways support McConnell's mission, but they also support the rest of the Department of Defense as a mid-country stopping point for other aircraft."
The day-to-day oversight of all runway construction safety protocols, processing critical safety alerts, is done by a small team of airfield management operations professionals, two non-commissioned officers and nine Airmen.
"This runway construction will also allow us to utilize this runway as our primary location for landing zone practice for our base-assigned tanker aircraft," said Jeffery Stockwell, 22nd Operations Support Squadron airfield manager.
Performing this project sooner, rather than later, also saved substantial amounts of money in repair costs due to further damage caused by continuous use. The deteriorating asphalt and concrete of the runway’s surface and further delays in repairs would have created a significant safety hazard for aircraft using the runway.
"The entire runway was not reconstructed, we overlaid the poor sections with new asphalt and concrete, focusing on the area around the center of the runway, main landing/departing zone," said Stockwell. "We anticipate that this project will allow us to continue operations for 7-10 years before needing to do further repairs."