By Airman 1st Class Cliffton Dolezal
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Little Rock Air Force Base will undergo three elements of cosmetic modifications enhancing the quality of work and life on base starting mid-June.
“I want to make sure that all members of Team Little Rock and visitors to the base are aware of the improvements we are making,” said Col. Patrick Rhatigan, 19th Airlift Wing commander. “During our Facebook Town Halls we received concerns about potholes, gate wait times and general traffic issues. Rest assured, we hear you! There will be major construction occurring on base in the upcoming months. Please be safe in these areas, and we appreciate your patience throughout the construction. “
The projects are scheduled to be complete October 2015, with a total cost of more than $5 million. The first of the three projects to kick-off will be a five-phase plan filling potholes located around the base.
Phase 1: will begin mid-June and will focus on potholes in front of the Hercules Dining Facility and in the Hangar 1080 parking lots and the Thomas Community Activities Center exit onto Arnold Drive.
Phase 2: will begin at the end of June through the first two weeks of July and will be the resurfacing of Avenue A, between the fire station and building 234 as well as the exit lanes of the base lake shoppette.
Phase 3: will take place in mid-July and will consist of resurfacing the rear parking lot of the DFAC and the dumpster enclosure facilities.
Phase 4: will start at the end of July and carry over into August. This phase will consist of the resurfacing of CMSgt Williams Drive as well as Fire Lane Boulevard near the Airman Leadership School.
Phase 5: the final phase of the project will begin mid-August and take place on CMSgt Williams Drive.
“With a limited budget, we have had to make hard decisions when allocating funds to help modernize the base’s infrastructure, but we’re excited for the projects we can support and sustain this year,” said Rhatigan. “Additionally, we are partnering with our community to ensure the base infrastructure is postured for the future.”
However, the resurfacing of roads this summer will not be the only construction taking place.
The three main base gates, Vandenberg, Harris and Arnold, will be receiving some updates in summer 2014; additionally the base utility company, Entergy, will be burying their power lines.
The new, modernized gates will help optimize base access, safety and security procedures, while improving traffic flow. However, there will be some delays and traffic congestion during these improvements.
“We are updating our existing infrastructure to meet our new and current stringent guidelines,” said Lt. Col. Rockie Wilson, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron commander.
The construction of the power lines project started June 16 and is expected to be finished mid-October 2014. This project will consist of burying the overhead power lines along the flightline on CMSgt Williams Drive.
“This will help the power from going out during storms and allows us to sustain the mission more effectively,” said Wilson.
Over the course of the five phases, this construction project will start near buildings 208 and 213 then progress down CMSgt Williams Drive, ensuring that all our airfield and industrial maintenance complexes are up to par and running evenly through the toughest of storms.
“All of this is only a portion of the overall project,” said Wilson. “There are two more parts that have not been awarded yet that will encompass the entire base in later years.”
While leadership understands construction can be an inconvenience at times, Wilson noted that mission effectiveness and readiness were taken into account.
“Certainly our intent is not to degrade the mission,” said Wilson. “So we are committed to doing this the most logical and efficient way we can.”
Editor’s note: The base improvements will be a short-term inconvenience, so please prepare and plan accordingly for potential traffic delays. PA will post additional information concerning gate delays two weeks prior to construction in the Combat Airlifter, www.littlerock.af.mil, and www.facebook.com/LRAFB.