Fort Bragg units to use regional airports as repairs are made at Pope Army Airfield
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — Fort Bragg air traffic that normally is seen and heard at Pope Army Airfield will temporarily move to airports in the region, officials said.
The military airfield is undergoing an $81.49 million repair project, a Fort Bragg spokeswoman said.
That means Fayetteville residents and travelers at Fayetteville Regional Airport will see military traffic at the airport, a city news release stated.
“Fayetteville Regional Airport always stands ready to support our military neighbors and are happy to support the ... aviation units based on Fort Bragg and Pope Army Airfield over the next few months,” Airport Director Toney Coleman said in the city’s news release.
When asked what’s being done to fix Pope Army Airfield’s runway, Army officials told the Senate Armed Services Committee last year that $25 million was approved in fiscal year 2020 for airfield lighting repair, and another $65 million was planned for repairs to the runway and taxiways in fiscal year 2021.
The Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District is overseeing the project, and RC Construction Co. was awarded the contract.
The project includes demolition and replacement of the runway and replacement of north and south taxiway lighting, Col. Daniel Hibner, commander Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, said in a December video.
Existing pavement about 40 football fields in length is being removed, Hibner said.
The asphalt surface will be replaced with concrete, Col. Scott Pence, Fort Bragg’s garrison commander, said.
“What that’s going to do is increase the lifespan from 8-12 years for up to 50 years, Pence said in a video released by the Corps of Engineers in December. “So you can see the cost advantages and operational advantages can come for a full generation after work on this airfield.”
Airfield operations being temporarily relocated to airfields throughout the region, which has required planning, logistics and coordination to allow operations to continue while the runway is closed, Hibner said.
The relocation will not impact commercial flights.
The airfield is part of the national command strategy and used by the 18th Airborne Corps, 82nd Airborne Division and other units across Fort Bragg to include the Golden Knights parachute team, said Col. David Fielder, chief of staff of engineers for the 18th Airborne Corps.
Hibner said that because the airfield is a critical asset to national defense, the runway closure to air traffic is being limited to four months.
Butler’s Creek runs under the airfield, and crews are ready if they run into different site conditions, Hibner said.
The overall project will take two years, he said.
“This may not be the largest, but it very soon will be the highest visibility project in the Corps of Engineers, with DOD-wide readiness implications,” Hibner said. “That’s one of the reasons why we have to ensure that this project is able to be completed on time.”
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