SEATTLE, Wash. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District started work Aug. 17 on an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project to upgrade the U.S. Air Force's only West Coast assault landing strip capable of handling the giant C-17 Globemaster III.

The 13,500-foot runway at the Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Wash., had been scheduled for improvements, moved up by the availability of ARRA funding. The project includes pavement replacement and upgrading lights on the airstrip. The Corps of Engineers awarded a $1.17 million contract to LarKor Construction of Homedale, Idaho. LarKor anticipates the project will employ 35 to 50 people.

The assault strip is a vital training area for the U.S. Air Force. Grant County International has the only C-17 in the western United States, and provides critical combat readiness training shared by Air Force units in four states.

Procedures practiced at Moses Lake are used in Iraq and Afghanistan every day and night. The facility is used to train flight crews from McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Wash.; Travis AFB, Calif; March Air Reserve Base, Calif; Hickam AFB, Hawaii; and Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.

The Corps and LarKor will work closely to accomplish construction within critical milestones and minimize the impact to the Air Force's training schedule. LarKor's deadline to complete the runway construction work is Sept. 16 - 28 days.

The improved runway will allow C-17 crews to resume training by Sept. 30, and continue to use the assault strip into the future without disruption.

Nationally, the Corps' military program expects to receive about $1.4 billion in military construction funding through the Recovery Act.

The Corps, as the Department of Defense construction agent, is working closely with DoD, Army, and Air Force program managers to refine project lists and timelines for project awards and construction schedules.

Page last updated Thu August 13th, 2009 at 09:46