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Base runway set to close for repair starting mid June

By Senior Airman C. Todd Lopez

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan (March 16, 2001) -- The Misawa Air Base runway is set to close June 11 at 12 a.m. and reopen June 18 at 12 a.m. to repair the critically degraded first 1,200 feet of asphalt pavement on the runway's west end.

During the closure, no military or commercial aircraft will use the runway.

This ensures the runway can safely be repaired in a timely manner, said base officials.

Plans are underway to find alternate arrival and departure points for all travelers during the closure.

According to Brig. Gen. Chip Utterback, 35th Fighter Wing and Misawa Air Base installation commander, many factors were considered in selecting an appropriate closure date.

These factors include the mission and weather patterns, as well as contractor, equipment and crew availability.

"Early selection of the runway repair date is necessary to allow proper coordination with airfield users, airfield management, contracting elements and engineering personnel," he said. "Additionally, early coordination with the contractor allows advance scheduling of highly specialized airfield paving equipment.

"We regret any inconvenience the closure may cause to those who use our runway," said Utterback. "However, it is important the runway repair be completed so we can ensure continued safe operations for both commercial and military flights both into and out of Misawa Air Base."

The general stressed that people need to plan ahead for the closure, in particular the travel needs of incoming and outgoing personnel during this time frame.