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Runway project nears completion

-Submitted photo This photo from July 31 during phase one of the project shows where the emulsion had been put down on the runway at the Fort Dodge Regional Airport. The lighter pavement shows where the two runways intersect.

The runways at the Fort Dodge Regional Airport are smoother and darker in color than they were before.

That’s because a project to rehabilitate the surface is nearing completion.

“We are almost completed, we are ahead of schedule on the project,” said Rhonda Chambers, director of aviation. “Both of the runways have had the emulsion applied. Now we are repainting the airfield markings, which is the paint on the runways.”

The total project cost is $803,840. A Federal Aviation Administration AIP grant is covering $616,500 of the cost. Chambers said the local funding would be covered through the FAA’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Crack cleaning and sealing, joint sealing, partial depth patching, applying emulsified pavement seal coat and pavement markings, were the main components to the project.

Sealing the runways is a preventive and protective measure rather than the more costly option of overlaying the entire surface, which would have cost millions, according to Chambers.

“The emulsion is put down and it actually restores — it soaks in to the top of the asphalt,” Chambers said. “It’s less expensive than taking it off and doing an overlay, but it restores that pavement. It doesn’t just sit on top of it. It gets absorbed into it.

“It’s an FAA approved spec. It’s a special product for runways. After they apply it you have to do a friction measuring test. It has a lot of specifications that are required by FAA. All of the runway markings then get repainted, so those are brand new. There are other markings that lead off the runways to taxiways that also were included in the project to get painted and emulsion on.”

The project began July 27. The date set for the finish is Sept. 5, but is anticipated to be complete before then.

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