While most Sailors were enjoying some down time during the holidays, the Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) Public Works Facilities Engineering and Acquisition Division (FEAD) was burning the midnight oil, completing a major, and at times problematic, resurfacing project on runway 3-21 at NBVC Point Mugu.
The 11,000-foot runway, which Lt. Cmdr. Ward Doss, FEAD director, noted was last paved in 1967, was in need of a new asphalt overlay. Because 3-21 crosses the facility’s second, shorter runway, both needed to be closed for part of the project’s duration.
NBVC is home to seven military aviation squadrons and services the 36,000-square-mile Point Mugu Sea Test Range in addition to several deployable battalions that depend on the airfield to move people and supplies. Additionally, NBVC San Nicolas Island, located 65 miles from NBVC Point Mugu, is reachable in a timely manner only by shuttle flight.
“Our air operations team worked with local county airports to support some of our aircraft during the closure,” said Vance Vasquez, NBVC’s deputy public affairs officer. “We had to ensure that we could continue our mission.”
To minimize the impact on airfield services and the various missions supported at NBVC, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) project, budgeted at more than $5 million, was scheduled for the slowest operational time of the year — the winter holiday season between Dec. 15 and Jan. 1.
But just days into the construction schedule, the contractor, Reyes Construction, Inc., encountered issues while milling the existing asphalt layer. Workers had originally planned to mill the top two inches of asphalt, then resurface. Due to the condition of the subsurface, however, the contractor needed to mill an additional inch to find a suitable surface to repave.
That inch of asphalt— and the extra work it would entail — added $1.4 million to the project.
“Under normal circumstances, it would take a six-month approval and negotiation process to get that extra money and get the contract modified,” Doss said. “Thanks to superb coordination between NBVC Public Works, NAVFAC Southwest and Reyes Construction, we got it done in two short days.”
Then there were the rain delays.
In the end, the project replaced three inches of asphalt, repaired the runway’s shoulders and in general increased the service life — and look — of the airfield at a total cost of $6.5 million.
It was completed by the Jan. 1 date.
“That’s record time,” said Cmdr. Jim Brown, NBVC’s public works officer.
“We fought against the weather, the clock, unforeseen conditions and just about anything the paving gods of the underworld could throw at us,” said Lt. j.g. Alex Rovinsky, FEAD construction manager, “and we prevailed.”