ALPENA - The federal government has committed nearly $10 million to the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center for a project that will improve conditions for pilots who are training in jets at the base.
Congress approved the money to have the ramps and aprons near the runways, which haven't been renovated since the 1980s. Maj. Corey Enderby said the current area originally was built during World War II before being upgraded about 30 years ago. He said the current condition restricts what type of plane can be used at the base.
"Basically there is rock and aggregate popping up and we can't have that with the jets. It doesn't impact the large planes, but it does the smaller lighter jets," Enderby said. "When it is done it will be a better way for us to operate overall and to handle more aircrafts."
Enderby said the project will include laying concrete measured at 16 inches thick and cover 45,000 cubit years of space. He said that equates to about 4,500 cement trucks. The aggregate currently is being tested by the Lafarge-Presque Isle Plant and once complete construction could begin. Enderby said all of the work will be done by contractors within Michigan, including several from the Alpena area.
"We will have Team Elmers, Huron Engineering, Thunder Bay Electric and others and it will take about 150 workers," Enderby said. "They will start mobilizing at the end of next month once the testing is done."
Enderby said the project will not be complete this year, but he's hopeful the new ramps and aprons will be in place next summer.
"We hope to have it done next July," Enderby said. "We will try to get as much done as we can before winter, and then begin in the spring and work until it is complete."
As the military continues to be cut by the federal government, the future of the CRTC often has been in question. Enderby said by approving the $10 million for the project, Congress may looking at the future of the base in a positive light.
"That is a pretty big investment and you would like to think it is a positive for the future of the base," Enderby said. "It doesn't just affect the base, but the aircrafts used as well."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com.