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Bagram Airfield runway repair completed ahead of schedule

By Rashid Attar , U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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WINCHESTER, Va. — The runway repair project at Bagram Airfield, the busiest airfield in the Department of Defense for single runway operations, was completed and turned over to the Air Force Dec. 9, 2013, six weeks ahead of schedule.

Delivering the runway on or ahead of schedule was the only option due to its strategic importance, according to Robert Schaible, military construction branch chief, Middle East District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The runway, which became operational Dec. 15, 2013, is currently functioning at near full capacity, according to district officials.

The runway repair project was completed in two phases. First, an old, inoperable concrete Russian runway that runs parallel to the main runway was demolished and replaced with a nearly two-mile long temorary asphalt runway, which was completed Aug. 10, 2013.

Once the temporary runway was completed, the primary asphalt runway was resurfaced. The renovated runway not only allows fighter aircraft to carry more ammunition, but it also allows cargo aircraft to carry heavier loads.

The Air Force was able to transition to the temporary runway and then back to the main runway without any negative impact to operations, said district officials. The temporary runway will now be used as a taxiway.

The project was originally scheduled for completion January 2014.