Runway Repairs at the Ascension Island Auxiliary Airfield

Under OTIE’s five-year Range Architect-Engineer Inspection Services (RAEIS) contract with the US Air Force, our staff had the opportunity to design runway repairs for a remote island in the South Atlantic Ocean under a $3.2 million task order.

Also known as Wideawake Airfield or the Royal Air Force Ascension Island, Ascension Island Auxiliary Airfield is a military airfield and facility jointly operated by the British Royal Air Force and the US Air Force. The island was the site of a target tracking radar station built in the 1960s for anti-ballistic missile measures. It is also a unique location with its own features, inhabitants, customs, and conditions.

The OTIE team’s design included full-depth replacement of runway pavement for the entire 10,000-foot runway, extended the Runway 31 overrun to 1,000 feet, and replaced all runway edge lights, threshold lights, and associated cabling back to the electrical lighting vault. Our work also included correction of storm water drainage and repair of approximately 5 miles of roadway pavement between the port and the airfield.

Because this is a remote site, logistical considerations were critical to the successful construction of this estimated $85 million construction project. OTIE prepared a plan that identified potential logistical issues and solutions and developed for environmental mitigation. These documents served as a guide to potential bidders on what to expect, what to consider in bidding, and how to operate on this remote island.

OTIE coordinated the multi-discipline design with airfield, civil, electrical/airfield lighting, environmental, survey, GIS, and cost estimating services. The team used an aerial drone to survey the runway, which reduced the topographic survey time from 6 weeks to 2 weeks. We also completed the entire project ahead of schedule, despite the logistical challenges.

As part of the Air Force’s Green Procurement Program, the OTIE team designed the project in a way that recovered 100% of milled runway asphalt for reuse in future construction. Approximately 30% of the recycled asphalt was used to repair roads on the island, reducing waste and lowering overall material costs.