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Chase Field runway rehabilitation project takes off
by Gary Kent
Apr 08, 2009 | 971 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The main runway at the Chase Field Industrial and Airport Complex is expected to become one of the best-equipped landing strips in South Texas.

The Bee Development Authority board of directors voted to approve two contracts when they met at the BDA offices at Chase Field Monday evening.

The contracts will provide for crack sealing and restriping of the runway, its taxiway and the installation of runway lighting.

BDA Executive Director Joe B. Montez and civil engineer Larry Patterson of Patterson Engineering in Corpus Christi were present to go over the bids for the work and to explain their recommendations.

Montez said that the company he was recommending for the paving work was not the low bidder. But he explained that the second lowest bid, presented by Wagner Materials & Construction Co., had a better financial report and came highly recommended for the job.

Wagner, a San Antonio-based company, submitted a bid for $444,000. Montez explained that the company will first apply a herbicide on the runway to kill any vegetation growing through the existing pavement. Then its work crews will route out the pavement where they find cracks, fill in those cracks, apply a coal tar spray over the entire runway and then repaint the stripes on the new surface.

Montez said the coal tar application to the surface will serve two functions, sealing any smaller cracks on the pavement and covering the places where the larger cracks have been sealed.

“And it’ll look pretty?” asked BDA Board President Laura Fischer.

“It’ll look pretty,” Montez answered.

He said the company will also clean and fill cracks on the taxiway leading to the runway but it will not do the coal tar sealing work on that part of the facility.

With the BDA spending almost a half million dollars on the project, Montez said it was important that the authority get the job done right the first time.

He explained that the runway work and the installation of the runway lights were being financed by a $1.25 million payment from the Hughes and Hughes Oil and Gas Co.

The Beeville-based corporation offered the stipend for an opportunity to build a new hangar for its corporate aircraft at Chase Field and for the right to use the runway and taxiway.

Montez said that once the runway sealing work is completed and the lighting is installed at a cost of $523,750, the BDA will have a balance of about $151,000 to spend on the airport operation.

He and Patterson said they thought they would be able to use the money to have some low places on the runway repaired while the sealing work is being done and to have precision Global Positioning System navigation equipment installed at the airport.

Montez said it is important that the runway drain properly and that no standing water be allowed to accumulate on the pavement.

Patterson explained that the contractor being recommended to install the runway lighting was the best company for the job.

He said F&W Electric Contractors, a Floresville-based company, did the last major upgrade runway lighting work for the Navy at Chase Field in 1982.

Patterson said six or eight companies originally were interested in bidding for the project but in the end it came down to two companies.

“F&W is the best,” Patterson said. He also pointed out that both bids came in lower than he had expected.

Patterson said the company will install an upgraded design with high intensity lights and a beacon that is 100 percent FAA approved.

Patterson said the best feature of the Chase Field facility will be its 8,000-foot runway. Along with the paving and lighting work and the GPS navigation system, that will mean that Beeville will have a runway facility as good as anything Corpus Christi has.

American Electric Power will also maintain the transformers on the runway lighting system.

“You’re getting a very good runway,” the engineer said.

Board member Elias Chapa asked how long Montez and Patterson thought the improvements would last before additional major work would have to be done and both said that, with proper maintenance, they should serve the BDA for eight to 10 years.

By then, Montez said, the BDA should be on the federal government’s National Program of Integrated Airport Systems list. Being included in the NPIAS will make the Chase Field airport operation eligible for federal assistance in maintaining the facilities.

Board member Luis Alaniz made both motions to approve the contracts with the two companies and board members voted unanimously to authorize Montez to enter the agreements.

Earlier, board members agreed to hire Lovvorn and Kieschnick to conduct the independent audit on BDA finances for the fiscal year ending on Dec. 31, 2008.
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