LINCOLN, NE—When the United States Air Force decided it was time for a runway overhaul at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, they eyed the Lincoln Airport (LNK) as a temporary home. This relocation would require design accommodations totaling approximately $27 million in project costs. The project would prepare the LNK airport’s west side for Offutt’s large fleet of aircraft—including 29 Boeing RC-135-variants; four E-4B Nightwatch aircraft; and several Navy E-6B Mercury communications and reconnaissance jets. As LNK’s on-call civil engineering consultant, Benesch was tapped to provide full-time construction observation for nearly 18 months. This award-winning effort not only facilitated the temporary relocation, but also positioned LNK for future growth.
Benesch handled construction observation and quality acceptance material testing for the various horizontal and vertical project components. Construction ran from April 2019 to September 2020, with improvements that included milling and paving 50 acres of parking apron on the west side of the airport. Vertical work involved refurbishing a historic 98,270-square-foot aircraft maintenance hangar and constructing a 34,000-square-foot clamshell hangar made of aluminum beams and a fabric outer membrane. Additionally, two 170-foot long aircraft sliding gates were installed to allow the USAF aircraft to move aircraft from the airside ramp to the landside hangars for maintenance.
“This project is really a testament to the importance of collaboration. The team worked together to solve every issue so that both the Air Force and LNK’s needs would be met,” said Aviation Group Manager Andy Beil. “I look forward to seeing how the updates will continue to serve LNK in the future.”
In 2023, Offutt will relocate back to its original location. With the updates made to LNK to accommodate the Air Force, the airport is poised for continued growth opportunities. LNK plans to advertise the refurbished hangar to other organizations and use the 50 acres of newly resurfaced pavement to help attract tenants.
This special project was recently recognized by the American Council of Engineering Companies Nebraska and received a 2022 Engineering Excellence Merit Award. For more information on the award and to see additional award-winning projects by Benesch, read this special edition of the Omaha World Herald.
Aerial photo above courtesy of Doug Prange Photography.