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Ramstein's 50-year-old runway gets makeover

by Tech. Sgt. John Somheil
Detachment 4, Air Force News Agency

3/15/2007 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNEWS) -- After years of construction on Ramstein's flightline, the end is in sight. First the base got a brand new runway, now construction crews are working on the last segment of a year-long make over to Ramstein's old north runway.

"About a year ago we started construction," says Capt. David Vanderburg, Ramstein's chief of construction management. "We extended the runway about 2,000 feet on the west side. Then we completely brought down the surface of the entire runway, did the entire surface over again. "

After 50 years and hundreds of thousands of take offs and landings, the old runway was starting to decay. Workers removed the runway's entire top layer. In sections where the subsurface was cracking and crumbling they had to excavate all the way to the ground, then laid fresh layers of concrete and asphalt.

The runway's location was a major challenge during construction; it runs the length of the base and sits in between the active runway and Ramstein's terminal and cargo handling yard. Through it all, aircraft still had to be able to safely cross the construction area.

"We've always had to provide a way for the aircraft to taxi down to the southern end of the runway to fly and land," the captain said.

Construction crews worked on the runway in sections so there was always a safe route for aircraft to taxi around the flightline.

The runway will be finished and ready for aircraft this summer and will give Ramstein two full runways.

"This gives us that extra mission capability should we need the runway," Captain Vanderburg said. "It gives (Ramstein) the flexibility that (it) didn't have before."

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