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97 AMW Construction: Road to a Higher Quality of Life

Warning signs alerts drivers to the closed roads around the traffic circle

Warning signs alerts drivers to the closed roads around the traffic circle, Sep. 19, 2018 at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. After the road work is finished behind the signs, the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron plans on reconstructing the rest of the road in front of the signs. (Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

A warning sign alerts drivers to a traffic circle where roads were newly paved

A warning sign alerts drivers to a traffic circle where roads were newly paved, Sep. 19, 2018 at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Starting early 2018, the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron enacted a seven-phase plan to perform road reconstruction on the areas that needed repairs the most. (Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

Hazard signs alert drivers to the closed roads

Hazard signs alert drivers to the closed roads, Sep. 19, 2018 at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. After the road work is finished behind the signs, the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron plans on reconstructing the rest of the road in front of the signs. (Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

This is one of the newly built roads, which leads drivers to the flightline

This is one of the newly built roads which leads drivers to the flightline, Sep. 19, 2018 at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Starting early 2018, the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron enacted a seven-phase plan to perform road reconstruction on the areas that needed repairs the most. (Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

Construction contractors hired by the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron, perform the final process on paving the new roads

Construction contractors hired by the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron, perform the final process on paving the new roads, Sep. 19, 2018 at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Starting early 2018, the 97th CES enacted a seven-phase plan to perform road reconstruction on the areas that needed repairs the most. (Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Roads are necessary for traveling in the modern world, so maintaining them is critical. Over time, road quality can degrade and require anything from small repairs to complete reconstruction.

In early 2018, the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron enacted a seven-phase plan to ensure the roads on base are in the safest condition. Completing road reconstruction on the areas that need it the most will ensure members are able to do their part of the mission.

“When people come to Altus, we want to give them a good impression,” said U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Scott Weiss, the project manager assigned to the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron. “Having a quality constructed base is not just about the facilities or the work environments we have, it’s the quality of the roads as well.”

Some of the roads were constructed almost 20 years ago. With proper construction and minor repairs, these roads were built to last. However, it gets to a point where the roads cannot be repaired and the safety of drivers becomes a concern.

“Once a road starts to degrade it will go downhill from there quickly,” said Rafid Kully, the chief of project management assigned to the 97th CES. “Once signs start showing that the road is at the end of its life expectancy, it does not have much time before the road becomes unsafe. Overall, the repairs are to increase the quality of life for base personnel.”

The repairs are necessary to make road conditions as safe as possible, however, safety takes time. Part of the reason construction takes so long is because the base is ensuring the roads are of the best quality.

“We planned ahead of time for roads that we knew would take some time,” said Weiss. “Having a great foundation can make a large difference in the durability of the road. Before paving the roads, we test the foundation and wait for the results to get back the next day. We would like to complete the project as soon as possible, but we are going to make sure the job gets done correctly.”

Once all the major construction is complete, the 97th CES is planning to coordinate smaller repairs and paint jobs on some of the roads that need touch ups to ensure the whole base has quality roadways.

“So far there have been some bumps, but we have been trucking along fine,” said Weiss. “Hopefully when the repairs are done they will last for another 20 years, therefore the people accomplishing the mission can continue what they are doing without any interruption or inconvenience.”

Road construction helps to improve quality of life for Airmen and their families who each play a vital role in accomplishing the Wing’s training mission.