Government, Press Release
The contract for the project to replace the runway at Ascension Auxiliary Airfield has, at long last, been awarded. It has been awarded to Fluor AMEC II, a global engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction and maintenance company. The herculean effort was brought to pass by a partnership of the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the US Department of Defense, assisted by the Ascension Island Government (AIG). The contract was let by the US Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC) and the US Air Force Installation Contracting Center (AFICC) under the Air Force Contract Augmentation Program (AFCAP). AFCEC will provide overall project management for the duration of the contract.
While many details are still to be delivered in contract documents, the Island can expect to see the first slew of contractors and government representatives in mid-February for a pre-construction existing conditions survey. Part of their task will be to establish the framework for delivering hundreds of thousands of tons of material and equipment to the Island where coastal interactions can be tricky.
The period of performance (the timeframe the contractor is not to exceed in completing the task) is 10 Jan 2020 – 10 May 2022. “This accounts for some unavoidable delays such as rough seas that may occur during construction” says Major Vinnie Bongioanni, 45 MSG Det 2, Ascension Auxiliary Airfield Commander.
USAF, MOD and AIG representatives on island intend to establish a planning group to scope and fully understand the likely local impacts of the project as it is delivered in order to inform discussions with the visiting survey team in February. Regular communications will be provided to the local community as the project progresses.
The project, despite the enormous logistical challenges will bring with it a host of benefits to the island, the prime one of course the return of the UK MOD’s South Atlantic Airbridge and all the positive impacts that will bring to the employing organisations and those who live and work here. The project is known as a “full-depth reconstruction” as not only the existing pavement will be removed and replaced but several feet of aggregate material below. “This will result in a far more robust operating platform for aircraft operations,” according to Major Bongioanni. Airfield lighting will also be replaced and water drainage will be improved.
This will be the first major construction on the full length of the runway since the overlay project in 1993 and the first full-depth reconstruction project since the runway’s construction in 1942 to take on WWII aircraft. The runway shoulder width will be doubled to reduce the risk of foreign object debris generation during aircraft movements. The total length of the runway will be extended by 500 feet to enable limited aircraft use (the island’s only means of large-volume passenger transport) during construction and a continuation of civilian access to Ascension. In addition, roads between the pierhead in the port settlement of Georgetown and all around Ascension Auxiliary Airfield will be reconstructed and renewed due to the large construction vehicles that will use them.