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Northfield runway repairs to be completed in December

By Airman Megan Munoz | Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs | August 30, 2016

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C -- Airmen from Joint Base Charleston's 437th Operations Support Squadron, 628th Civil Engineer Squadron and 628th Contracting Squadron are leading repairs to the North Auxiliary Airfield landing zone in North, South Carolina. The project began in June 2016 and is scheduled for completion in December.

C-17 Globemaster III aircrews use the landing zone, constructed in the early 1990s, for training to include air dropping cargo, touch-and-goes, night vison training and short runway landings.

"What's crucial about Northfield is we train there every day and night," said Nathaniel Watts, 437th OSS airfield manager. "Northfield is strictly for training; we drop cargo and have a landing zone to simulate being down range. As a result of C-17s landing, the pavement is crumbling and creating an increasing foreign-object damage issue. These little pieces of pavement could cause damage to something as little as a light or jam an engine, which can cause a crash landing."

Planning between 437th OSS, 628th CES and 628th CONS started roughly a year ago with multiple meetings to discuss the design of the new landing zone.

"The partnership must exist," said Watts. "Although I am the airfield manager for Charleston and Northfield for construction projects at the airfield I must work with the CE's, pavement and airfield criteria experts, and CONS' contracting experts and experts in the selection processes. The partnership exists to make sure the correct work is accomplished and the very best team is hand selected to conduct the work."

The 628th CONS is responsible for enforcing all contract terms and ensuring all materials and completed construction and specifications are outlined in the contract, according to Tech. Sgt. David Tuscany, a 628th CONS contract specialist.

"CONS completed planning to ensure the competition of highly qualified contractors is maximized to ensure the best performance and price on our construction contract is found," said Tuscany.

The 628th CES determined what needed to be repaired and worked closely with the airfield manager and the designer to ensure all requirements were captured. The 628th CES is heavily involved in construction activities, while ADC Engineering is at the construction site to monitor construction activities of the contractors. According to Rob Crossland, 628th CES base pavements engineer, the distance to the NAAF from JB Charleston makes it difficult to send members from the 628th CES to oversee the construction and effectively manage the project from JB Charleston.

"The ground breaking for repairs started in early June when the asphalt and stone base were demolished," said Crossland. "Roughly 21,000 tons of the stone base was recycled and is being put down for the new runway before placing concrete. C-17s were causing a lot of distress on the asphalt because of the short stopping distance on a 3,500 foot landing zone. Concrete is much stronger and will provide an improved platform for the C-17s to train on. The original landing zone was asphalt and over time the two layers of asphalt separated, then deteriorated and began to create foreign-object damage."

More than 36,000 square yards of asphalt for the shoulders of the landing zone and 66,000 linear feet of wire and new lights are also being installed.

Aircrews are still conducting training on the active runway while the landing strip is under construction. According to Crossland there are plans to repair the active runway in the next two to three years.

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