When road construction takes place on Luke Air Force Base, there’s a lot of planning and preparation that happens before the millions of dollars of construction work can begin.
Posturing projects for construction at appropriate days and times takes a lot of communication and coordination. Proper use of funding drives the execution of construction projects, proper execution creates a better end product and that translates into quality of life for those who live and work on the base.
Once the 56th Contracting Squadron works out the contract details, the 56th Civil Engineer Squadron executes the plan. CES gets the information out to as many people as they can to bring awareness of the road changes.
“We involve many shops across the base to ensure we can get the information to as many people as we can,” said Raymond Petti, 56th CES engineer technician. “It’s important to share the information about what roads are closed or what detours people have to take so it’s not a big surprise the next day on their way to work.”
Emergency responders, security forces and base employees are notified of upcoming construction that may impact their daily routine. CES uses the base newspaper and pop-ups on base computers. The pop-ups display a map showing which streets are closed and for how long.
CES tries to schedule construction around people’s schedules to prevent delays and traffic congestion.
“Whenever possible, construction work is performed during off-peak hours to minimize the impact to traffic flow on the base,” said Kevin Haponek, 56th CES chief project management. “However, some delays are inevitable as with any critical infrastructure upgrade.”
One of the roads that was modified to better fit the base’s traffic congestion is 137th Avenue.
“One hundred thirty seventh Avenue was completely reworked to prevent accidents for pedestrians on their way to the Luke Air Force Base Child Development Center,” Petti said. “The road has a small divider to prevent people driving through the parking lot by the Luke AFB Airman and Family Readiness Center and to prevent people from going in the wrong direction to get into the CDC, the road is now set up to help ease traffic and prevent accidents.”
Some of the construction around base is ahead of schedule because of the relationship CES has with local contractors.
“Having great contractors really makes a difference,” Haponek said, “It makes the job easy, the quality of the work is great and it helps with the timeliness of getting things done. It’s great for us. It keeps us on schedule or in some cases ahead of schedule.”
Many of the roads, pipes and valves found on base are from the 1950s, which can lead to unexpected situations when they are dug up. The quality of workers on the roads can make a difference between construction staying on schedule or being delayed.
The Arizona weather is also harsh, causing the roads and buildings to deteriorate more quickly.
“It’s important to keep upgrading and maintaining the roads and buildings around base,” Petti said. “It can cost more time and money to repair them in the long run if they aren’t maintained.”