JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
Concrete pouring began as part of a Joint Base Charleston – Air Base project to refurbish Taxiway Delta Aug. 16, 2017 and is slated to be complete in late November.
The nearly $12 million project will enhance the 10,000 foot-long stretch of taxiway by increasing safety to the aircraft flying in and out of JB Charleston’s airfield. Its new design will make it more efficient and compatible with larger aircraft.
“Just like any piece of an airfield, it has to be maintained and eventually replaced,” said Nathaniel Watts, 437th Operations Support Squadron airfield manager. “It is a long process, from assessing the need, getting funding and then finding a company to do the work, with a lot of steps in between.”
Taxiway Delta will also be optimized with high efficiency light emitting diode (LED) lighting, new signage, new paint and joint sealant repairs. The contract includes a one year warranty after which the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron will assume all maintenance responsibilities such as pavement repairs, painting and foreign object removal. Due to the funding costs, the contract had to be approved by Congress.
“The Taxiway Delta construction will cost $11.6 million,” said Brooke Mitchell, 628th Contracting Squadron contract administrator. “There are a lot of moving parts to this project, but coordination between the different parties has allowed the construction to progress smoothly so far.”
Because Taxiway Delta is nearly 60 years old, approximately 2,500 feet needed to be completely replaced. Additionally, the other parts of the taxiway, constructed in the 90s, are in need of repairs and upgrades. The current width causes the outboard engines of the C-17 Globemaster III to hang over the grass, increasing the likelihood of foreign object ingestion. The new taxiway will be wide enough to accommodate the wingspan of the C-17.
“Because we share an airfield with Boeing and Charleston International Airport, a taxiway being out of service can cause excessive congestion,” said Watts. “It may take a little extra time to get an aircraft to the runway with Taxiway Delta down, but we do our best to ensure minimal impact on time sensitive mission capabilities.”
For a project of this magnitude, teamwork between every agency involved is a top priority. A multitude of internal and external parties have come together to make the taxiway as efficient and cost-effective as possible.
“Coordinating with other agencies is the key to making this project successful,” said Watts. “Whether it is internal agencies such as Contracting or Civil Engineer squadrons or external partnerships with the Federal Aviation Association or the Charleston International Airport, it is a team effort to get large project like this one done.”