The Far East District Kunsan resident office, along with the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron and Yi Bon Construction Company LTD., completed a major repair on the Kunsan Air Base runway and taxiways during September and October of 2014.
Kunsan resident office quality assurance representatives Yi,-Pyong-pae, Chong, Song-ho and project engineer Kim, U-kon oversaw spall repairs on cracks and the replacement of 520 concrete slabs on the main runway, 92 slabs on the taxiways and the replacement of the asphalt shoulder for the parallel taxiway.
“The deficiencies created foreign object debris hazards and it required increasing runway inspections and sweeping,” said Andy Rajala, Kunsan resident office engineer.
The Kunsan runway was originally built in the 1920’s by the occupying Japanese. After the Korean War the U.S. military began a more permanent presence and in 1962 an unbounded 8 inch overlay was constructed on top of the original runway. Kim said the last major repair work on the runway was more than 10 years ago and many of the concrete slabs were beginning to show their age.
“Although the overall condition of the runway is good, there were significant linear cracks, failed patches, spalling, corner breaks, scaling, and joint sealant damage,” said Kim. “The number and severity of deficiencies had increased beyond what could be repaired between flying operations. The deficiencies produce foreign object damage hazards that can affect the U.S. Air Force, Republic of Korea Air Force and commercial aircraft that use the runway.”
Replacing the damaged concrete required the runway to be shutdown. Since Kunsan only has one runway it had a major impact on the mission. During the repair work the 8th Fighter Wing had to send two F-16 Fighter Squadrons (35th and 80th) to Osan Air Base and Alaska’s Eielson Air Force Base. The base also had to coordinate with the Republic of Korea Air Force’s 38th Fighter Squadron and the Kunsan City Airport who both use the runway.
The 45 day closure, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 31, ensured the newly laid concrete was strong enough to support the aircraft and the mission.
“To complete the runway repair within 6 weeks the contractor worked two shifts for the first three weeks to remove the damaged concrete slabs, place the new concrete and finished placing concrete by Oct. 4,” said Ho. The last 3 weeks we oversaw the completion of crack repairs, grooving and other finishing work while the concrete cured and developed the strength to support the weight of the airplanes.”
Now that the repair work is finished it will also mean an easier job for those who maintain the runway on a daily basis.
“This will benefit the 8th Fighter Wing by reducing the cleaning, repairs and hazards on the runway and taxiways,” said Rajala.