The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

State News

March 18, 2014

Grissom runway set to close for repair work

PERU — The more than 2-mile-long runway at northern Indiana's Grissom Air Reserve Base is going to be shut down for repair work for several weeks this spring and summer.

That will mean the shifting of the military refueling aircraft based at Grissom to other Air Force sites and a hit on business at its civilian aviation companies, the Kokomo Tribune reported.

The 12,500-foot runway will close in early June for about 45 days so that new expansion joints can be installed.

"The pavement heaves up during the summer time, so we are going to put in expansion joints in the pavement that allow it to move around and prevent an un-level pavement surface," said John Robison, chief engineer of squadron based at Grissom.

The Air Force has 16 KC-135 Stratotanker refueling planes stationed at Grissom, which has seen increased civilian use since it was downgraded to reserve base in 1994. A jet-painting company and other businesses operate at the base about midway between South Bend and Indianapolis.

The last time Grissom's runway closed for repair work was in 2004.

Barbara Baldwin, CEO of Dean Baldwin Painting, said the company will likely have to reduce hours for the 135 workers at the Grissom hangar where it paints and services airplanes.

She said the company has already had to move seven painting jobs to other company facilities around the country because of the runway closure.

"It's hard enough on the company, but it's even harder on the employees," she said. "But I told them we'd make it. We'll be all right."

Col. Don Buckley, Grissom's squadron commander, said the goal is to complete the runway repairs as quickly as possible to offset the negative impact to both the military and civilian operations.

"At the end of the day, these repairs are absolutely necessary and will benefit both military and civilian aviation for years to come," he said.

— CNHI News Service

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