Ft. Campbell Airfield Emergency Reconstruction

by Duane A. Dyer,
John P. Jent,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Airport Pavement Innovations—Theory to Practice


The air deployment from Fort Campbell, Kentucky to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Storm in the summer and fall of 1990 involved several hundred C5 and C141 aircraft loaded with men, equipment, and fuel to a maximum wartime take-off weight of up to 800,000 pounds. This increased traffic of heavy planes resulted in isolated pavement failures of an already marginal pavement section into the soft subgrade. A complete and rapid evaluation of the pavement conditions revealed that the 1940's vintage pavements over the entire airfield were simply too thin to support heavily loaded aircraft and that continued traffic would cause additional failures without warning on both one of only two remaining taxiways and the main runway itself. Once the full magnitude of the pavement failure was determined, it was realized that reconstruction needed to be done under emergency conditions. Due to the extreme importance of the Campbell Army Airfield, reconstruction had to be performed in the absolute least amount of time during which the airfield would be out of operation. In addition to structural improvement, repair work was to include a significant amount of work to bring lighting and surface grading up to present airfield standards. Reconstruction elements were prioritized and the overall reconstruction of the airfield broken into two phases, Phases I and II. To enable successful awarding of both contracts in fiscal 1991, a budgetary requirement, both contracts had to be near perfect and required coordination between both contracts. In Phase I, the airfield was shut down, and the 12,000-foot long main runway was milled and resurfaced with varying amounts of asphaltic concrete in a period of 68 days in the fall of 1991. In Phase II (1982 and 1993) the existing asphaltic concrete taxiways and aprons were removed and reconstructed one-half at a time with Portland cement concrete, enabling the airfield to remain operational.

Subject Headings: Airport and airfield pavements | Airports and airfields | Construction management | Pavement condition | Failure analysis | Asphalt pavements | Emergency management | Asphalt concrete | Kentucky | United States | Saudi Arabia | Middle East | Asia

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