McConnell Runway Nears Re-Opening

Officials at McConnell AFB, Kan., expect to re-open the base’s west runway on May 30 after nearly a year and half of upgrades under a $46 million renovation project, according to a release from the KC-135 base. The upgrades include new lights, improved taxiways, and an instrument landing system for landing in adverse weather conditions, states the May 10 release. “We’re bringing [the runway] up to Air Mobility Command and Air Force-level codes and requirements,” said Jay McFarland, program management pavements engineer for McConnell’s 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron. “We’re also reducing the footprint of the pavement so that we have less to maintain,” he said. The renovation began in December 2011. The upgrade came about since, after more than 20 years of use, the west runway, showed signs of deterioration and cracking despite regular maintenance. The runway, designed for KC-135s, also supported heavier B-1Bs that operated at the base for 15 years through 2002. McConnell’s east runway is also on a list of Air Force runways for renovation. (McConnell report by A1C Victor J. Caputo)