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Air Force Agrees to Upgrade of Crumbling Offutt Runway

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Keith Thompson, 55th Security Forces Squadron, checks Identification at the remodeled and expanded Strategic Command Gate on Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., March 5, 2013. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Josh Plueger)
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Keith Thompson, 55th Security Forces Squadron, checks Identification at the remodeled and expanded Strategic Command Gate on Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., March 5, 2013. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Josh Plueger)

BELLEVUE, Neb. — The Air Force has agreed to a $55 million upgrade of the runway at Offutt Air Force Base, a move that will extend the life of the runway for about 20 years.

Nebraska's congressional delegation welcomed the Air Force's decision, which was announced Wednesday.

Sen. Deb Fischer says design work will begin this fall and construction will start in 2018.

The decision eases fears that a deteriorating runway could eventually prompt the Air Force to move the 55th Wing to a different base. That would have eliminated thousands of civilian and military jobs in the area.

Because of the crumbling runway, ground crews have had to watch constantly for loose chunks of concrete that could destroy a jet engine if they were sucked inside.

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