After four months of construction, ‘Runway 18 Partial Depths Repair’ has been completed. A $4.8 million construction project covering 200,000 square feet of runway pavement. This project makes NAS JRB Fort Worth the largest utilizer of Del Patch product in the world.
Lt. Isaac Leskowat, Director of Facilities Engineering and Acquisition, explained the importance of the project, “The runway is the primary mission of NAS JRB Fort Worth, since it is the only runway on the installation, a closure means that daily training, testing, transportation, maintenance, and logistics operations are impacted.”
Conducting the partial depth repairs to areas that are high traffic, and high impact ensures the runway is maintained, and the integrity of the overall surface is preserved for decades to come.
“This project extends the life of the runway for another 20 plus years. The existing expansion joints were prone to spalling and creating Foreign Object Debris (FOD) which can have catastrophic consequences when combined with aircraft operations,” said Leskowat.
The record breaking amount of Del Patch used was made possible by the scale of the runway repairs, and the ability to keep the runway open during construction.
“The magnitude of the project undertaken at NAS JRB Fort Worth is a hefty effort. With the long runway, and the outstanding support of the Air Operations Team, we were able to keep the runway open during operations. This means we were able to place more of the product in one project than might normally be possible when working under tighter schedules and space constraints,” explained Leskowat.
Extending the life of the runway did not come without its challenges. Robert Dominguez, BRJ Paving Senior Project Manager, highlighted the intricacies of using Del Patch, and the adversity faced during construction.
“Del Patch is a highly specialized, hazardous product. It is really sticky, kind of like honey and bubble gum, mixed with sand and fiber. It is a two part epoxy mix, which is highly bondable, and sets in only seven minutes. The product sticks to everything; the runway, clothes, equipment, and vehicles,” said Dominguez.
Due to this short window of opportunity, and the stickiness of Del Patch, conventional methods of construction could not be used. The BRJ crew used five gallon buckets to lay the product, totaling 23,000 buckets. All of which was performed on an active runway, with jets flying overhead.
The benefits of using Del Patch far outweigh any labor constraints, because it is a very flexible material, that doesn’t have the rigidity of concrete. When you place aircraft weight on Del Patch, it gives way, helping to prevent spalling, which can create FOD.
“This was a very outside the box project and it couldn’t have been done without the help of the Airfield Manager, Public Works, and Lockheed Martin’s cooperation,” said Dominguez.
For the completion of the project, Lt. Cmdr. William Husky, Operations Officer, hosted the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) team, and conducted a FOD inspection covering 2,000 SQ feet of the newly repaired runway.
“This week we had the NAVAIR F-35 JPO team out to look at a FOD program for the base, in order to help increase FOD awareness and minimize FOD. We also conducted a FOD Walk with all the tenants across the installation, allowing us to open up our airfield back to original capacity, completing the runway project,” said Husky.
‘Runway 18 Partial Depths Repair’ was a record breaking, massive and arduous project. From inception to completion it involved multiple participants who aided in the success of this imperative mission.