Amey’s Highways and Defence teams join forces to upgrade RAF Odiham’s runway

12 August 2021
Image of a runway.
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Amey’s Transport Infrastructure and Defence teams in conjunction with Levertech Aviation Services have successfully delivered a £5.5m contract to upgrade the runway and associated airfield lighting at RAF Odiham, home of the UK Chinook Force.  

The work was carried out on behalf of the client, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). 

Funds comprising £2.9m for the runway and £2.6m for lighting were mobilised within 10 days to enable works to start just before Christmas. This involved a lot of pre-planning and engagement with key stakeholders at RAF Odiham so that the project could begin before the worst of the winter weather arrived. 

The works, which were needed to increase the friction levels on the runway to maintain safe operations for fixed wing aircraft, saw the top 40mm of the runway removed and replaced with 8,500 tonnes of asphalt. This important project will extend the life of the runway for another 15 years. 

All works were undertaken during the day, allowing the runway and RAF Odiham to remain operational for rotary aircraft movements throughout the surfacing works. This was achieved by splitting the runway into two halves, with Amey working on one half of the runway and RAF Odiham operating from the other. Once the first half of the runway had been resurfaced, operations switched so that work could commence on the second half. Amey also supported the Station by facilitating land movement of Chinooks, and over 1,000 asphalt delivery vehicles, through an alternative side gate to reduce the impact of the project on the main gate and the surrounding RAF Odiham Road network. 

During work, the UK entered its third lockdown and modifications to the testing regime needed to be agreed. A pragmatic approach was taken by DIO’s subject matter experts to reduce the frequency of testing where social distancing rules could not take place, with the laboratory technicians working together in a bubble. 

Consultation with private landowners had to take place for lighting works to replace all aeronautical ground lighting services for the runway, including elevated edge, threshold and end and both elevated approaches as approach masts are located within private farmland. Other work involved replacing existing constant current regulators, cabling and transformers alongside installation of two new standby package generators. 

Station Commander RAF Odiham, Group Captain Nicholas Knight OBE MA, said: "These essential works at RAF Odiham have upgraded our existing runway, and replaced the runway lighting with modern, more energy efficient lighting, extending the life in excess of 15 years. Many thanks to Amey and their subcontractors, on behalf of DIO, who have successfully carried out the works which saw Chinook Force operations continue unaffected throughout.” 

Tim Redfern, Amey’s Managing Director Defence, said: “I’m delighted that once again, the collaborative efforts of Amey’s Transport Infrastructure and Defence teams has resulted in successful handover of upgraded runway works at this important site. By combining the expertise of both teams, we have delivered real benefit to the client, DIO, and have future proofed this vital asset for the Armed Forces.” 

Duncan Malloch, Account Manager for Transport Infrastructure at Amey added: “I’m incredibly proud of the team involved in carrying out repair works and associated airfield lighting works at RAF Odiham.  Working in collaboration with the client we were able to ensure that the runway works were carried out safely and with minimal disruption to the Air personnel using the facility. This is a great example of how pooling knowledge and expertise can provide real benefits to the end user.” 

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