After delays, MCAS runway to reopen Oct. 15

BEAUFORT -- Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort's 12,000-foot main runway in anticipation of the strip's reopening in a few weeks. The strip has been closed for almost nine months.

Originally expected to be completed by early September, delays in receiving electrical parts for installation, cleanup efforts and additional work pushed the runway's reopening to Oct. 15, said David Moore, airfield operations manager.

The additional work included

replacing runway approach lights and other spot maintenance not in the initial contract with the project's contractor,

Savannah-based APAC.

"When you go into a project like this, you never actually know what you're

going to have to do until you open it up and see what you're working with," Moore said.

In addition to putting new asphalt on the runway, crews installed new runway lights and removed skid marks from the runways using a high-pressure water cannon.

The project is expected to cost about $6 million.

Moore said crews have also been

reworking "soft spots" in the asphalt of the recently resurfaced airstrip.

"It's not that the work was bad or it wasn't done right; it's just that when you get a batch of material that large, you're always going to have to redo this or

rework that," he said. "It just means that we're going to have to do daily

maintenance inspections and checkups to make sure everything is ready to go when we reopen the runway."

Work began in February, forcing MCAS Beaufort to use its 8,000-foot secondary runway to handle daily air traffic, sending 15 to 30 jets per day over Lady's

Island, Yemassee and Grays Hill.

"I know that this process is a lengthy one, but it is imperative that it is completed and done correctly to ensure the safety of our pilots and aircraft," said Cpl. John Jackson, spokesman for the air station. "Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort appreciates all of the support and patience we are continuing to receive from the local community."