Runway work

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE A Tempe, Ariz., construction company has been awarded a more than $32 million contract for 2014 runway repairs and improvements at Minot Air Force Base.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said the Department of Defense contract went to Sundt Construction Inc.

The estimated completion date for the work is Oct. 15, 2014, according to Defense Department information.

Hoeven said one end of the runway was completed earlier and another section was done this past year. But, he said, the key was the work on the middle section and getting it bid out so the work could be completed over the fiscal year instead of it turning into a two-year project.

“The key is we’re able to bid it out now and get it done in one year. That’s really important so we don’t have the runway out of commission for two years,” he said.

While the middle section of the runway work is being completed some of the planes are expected to be away on temporary duty in Guam while others will be relocated to Barksdale AFB, La., the other B-52 base, for a time.

Starting in April of this year, the construction on the east end of the base runway had an impact on flights.

Lt. Col. David Gordon, commander of the base’s 5th Operations Support Squadron, said, during an Oct. 8 interview, that because of the short runway they were able to operate but at a reduced capacity. The construction of the east end of the runway was scheduled for completion at the end of that month and the runway would be fully opened.

“Last year we had the other end of the runway under construction,” Gordon said. That project was done to widen the taxiway of the airfield and repair work also was completed at the west end of the runway.

“This year we’re working on the east end of the runway and then next year we’re hoping to replace the center section,” Gordon said in that interview.

The entire runway project is more than $50 million.

Hoeven said the work on the massive runway will help strengthen the mission at the Minot base.

The estimated completion date for the work is Oct. 15, 2014, according to Defense Department information.

In August a ribbon cutting was held to celebrate the completion of the base’s new air traffic control tower and Base Operations Facility, a $16.3 million project. The control tower, on the south side of the runway, is the newest and most modern control tower of the Department of Defense. It replaced a control tower that was in use at the base since it opened in 1966.