KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (April 18, 2012) -- The 451st Air Expeditionary Wing received 38 acres of strategic and tactical ramp space with the completion of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction project, here, April 10.

The $31.9 million expansion project includes 1,000 square meters of concrete that will enable the Air Force to conduct additional cargo and personnel flights into and out of Kandahar Airfield.

"The completion of this ramp represents a great deal of opportunity," said Col. Sam Grable, 451st Air Expeditionary Mission Support Group commander, at the turnover ceremony. "It presents opportunity today as we prosecute the fight during this critical point in the campaign and it presents opportunity in the near future as we work to retrograde combat forces."

In addition to the added space, the project, which was awarded to Contrack Inc. and begun in Oct. 2010, included edge lighting, pavement marking, high mast apron lighting and utilities.

"This ramp also provides a strategic and enduring asset for Afghans and our allies for years to come," said Grable. "It is an enormous achievement and on behalf of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing Commander, Brigadier General Scott Dennis, thank you for your effort."

In his remarks, Col. Benjamin Wham, the Afghanistan Engineer District-South commander, said the project was completed 10 days early and within budget. "Today I stand on the fourth phase of construction project that I and others envisioned in 2009. To see this high-quality, finished project done on time, and during my command, is personally and professionally rewarding."

Wham is one of just two Air Force officers to command a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers district. Under his command, the Afghanistan Engineer District-South oversees a $1.2 billion program in southern Afghanistan that includes U.S. military, Afghan National Security Force, water and infrastructure construction projects.