Amey’s Defence teams deliver runway works at RAF Coningsby with no impact to RAF operations

22 January 2020
Collage of construction vehicles.

RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire is one of two RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) stations which protect UK airspace, the other being RAF Lossiemouth, a station we look after in our Regional Prime Scotland and Northern Ireland contract.  

RAF Coningsby is home to two frontline, combat-ready squadrons and is the training station for Typhoon pilotsso when Amey’s Defence team received a brief from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to replace the 20mm thick porous friction course on the main runway, they knew immediately that the job would require more than the usual project scope. 

Amey and DIO teams worked closely with the Senior Air Traffic Control Officer (SATCO) and the Officer Commanding Ops (OC Ops) to develop the Station’s course of action paper which included a detailed plan of how Amey and the contractors would operate, and, how we would manage works should a Quick Response Alert (QRA) take place. It was vital that aircraft operations and daily routine flying operations would not be compromised by runway works. 

Paul Marshall, Amey’s Project Manager said: “All work had to be planned so we could vacate the runway within eight minutes if required. The successful evacuation of all plant, equipment and personnel within the allotted time formed part of the onsite trials before the Station Commander signed off the works so the whole team were prepared and knew what to do if a QRA was needed. In fact, during the project three QRAs took place and emergency evacuation procedures were instigated – all were successfully carried out well within our eight minute window.” 

The project required the team to operate overnight for a duration of 60 nights in order to complete the project in time with minimum impact to operations. This meant that our teams had to change their working patterns to oversee the works. Each night, the operation involved taking possession of one side of the runway, keeping the other side free in case of QRA. There were 50 personnel and up to 40 items of plant and equipment involved each night.  

Group Captain A J Portlock, HQ Air Commander, RAF High Wycombesaid: I wanted to take the opportunity to collectively thank you for your significant contribution that ensured the project at Coningsby was such a considerable success. What was delivered in 12 months was in many ways remarkable. Without the proactive, collaborative, and highly professional approach displayed by you all, there is no way the target date would have been met. As you know, the role of the Station is a significant one, and the Station Commander has recently written to AOC 1 Gp to highlight the success of the project, and he rightly heaped praise on the infra team (all of you) for your efforts. Please also pass on my thanks to the Amey’s contractors, Colas UK, who are an integral part of the team – a job well done.”