Fuel system, taxiway project underway in $40M construction season at Selfridge

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
A major new jet fuel storage system and an overhaul of an aircraft taxiway are among more than $40 million worth of construction projects now in various stages of completion at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

The largest of the projects, a brand new $36 million jet fuel storage and deliver system, is in the final design stage. Physical construction on that project is expected to begin in Fiscal Year 2015, with a completion date in Fiscal Year 2017.

The $5.3 million replacement of one of the aircraft taxiways on the base is about a quarter of the way completed. That work is expected to be finished by early summer. During the replacement of the taxiway, some of the Michigan Air National Guard's KC-135 Stratotankers at the base are temporarily operating out of Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The taxiway work at the base was scheduled to coincide with a deployment by most of the base's A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft to two major training exercises in Arizona. Coast Guard, Army and Customs & Border Protection helicopters assigned to the base are able to continue normal operations despite the taxiway work.

"While the taxiway work is basically a scheduled, routine overhaul, the new fuel farm project is a major new system that will improve safety and security and will enhance Selfridge's ability to serve as a significant hub for aerial refueling operations," said Lt. Col. Thomas Sierakowski, commander of the 127th Civil Engineer Squadron, which oversees major construction work on the 3,600-acre air base.

In addition to the two major projects, construction crews on the base are also working on filling in some low areas near the existing runway on the south end of the base. The clean fill dirt for that $150,000 project is coming from the taxiway project and from a small construction project at the U.S. Army Garrison in Warren.

"This is a great win/win project - the Garrison saves money from not having to pay to have it hauled away and we don't have to spend money to get dirt to fill in the low areas," Sierakowski said.

In another project, crews are replacing the metal siding and installing a new energy-efficient heating and cooling system to the base's air traffic control tower in a $400,000 project.

The current work at Selfridge, which will marks its 97th anniversary of continuous active military use in July, are the first major construction projects since the completion of three major projects in late 2011/early 2012, when a new Security Forces Squadron building, Fighter Operations building, and Munitions complex - more than $18 million worth of work in total - began operations.

The taxiway reconstruction project involves removing the existing lights on the taxiway, grinding up the old concrete, pouring new concrete and then re-installing the lights. Due to the taxiway construction, some air traffic patterns at the base have shifted slightly, which may be noticeable by some areas residents. Because the KC-135s at Selfridge routinely are called upon to provide aerial refueling services across the eastern half of the continental U.S. and beyond, some aircraft, pilots and maintainers made the temporary move to Detroit Metro. From the end of World War II through 1971, the Michigan Air National Guard operated two squadrons of aircraft at Metro, prior to relocating to Selfridge.

The fuels project will include a 630,000-gallon storage complex. A new mostly-underground multiple hydrant refueling system that will allow even the largest Air Force aircraft to "pull-up to the pump," greatly reducing truck traffic on the base. A number of environmental and safety considerations are also being built into the new system, Sierakowski said.

With the current work at Selfridge, more than $100 million worth of construction projects have been completed or begun at the base since the U.S. entered the post-Sept. 11 era.

Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operations Command by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which is also home to units of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection.