Bedford Escapes Most of This Summer’s Runway Resurfacing

March 24, 2023

The Massachusetts Port Authority is preparing another runway resurfacing project for Hanscom Field this summer. But this one will affect Bedford only peripherally.

The northeast-southwest runway, called 5-23, is the shorter of two at the airport. Plans call for rehabilitating the 3,050-foot section south of its intersection with the long runway, called 11-29.

Massport officials provided some details to the Hanscom Field Advisory Commission at its meeting on Tuesday.

The remaining 2,057 feet of the shorter runway – north of the intersection – is targeted for resurfacing in the summer of 2024. That work will impact Bedford. The length of the runway segment is less than 30 percent of the 11-29; that 7,011-foot runway was resurfaced in 2018. Resurfacing is on a 20-year cycle.

The work will include pavement milling, crack repair, resurfacing, and removal of excess pavement, said Dan Dragani, project manager with Massport’s capital projects department. Price for the entire project is $29.5 million.  

Hanscom Airfield Runway map from 2017. Courtesy Image.

Construction vehicles this summer will travel to the airport via Hanscom Drive off Route 2A in Lincoln. The trucks are expected to make 50 round trips a day during 20 days of asphalt hauling. 

That wasn’t received well by one Lincoln resident. Elizabeth Coules, formerly of Bedford, lives at Minuteman Commons, a 55-plus condominium complex on Virginia Road near the gate where construction vehicles will access the airfield. 

“I work from home – I don’t know how I’m going to work,” she said, adding that the nearby 90-degree turn onto Virginia Road is dangerous.

“We will work with the Lincoln Police Department on any traffic concerns,” said Amber Goodspeed, director of administration at Hanscom. Shen noted that the traffic count at this point is an estimate.

“We don’t know what size trucks they’re going to use,” said Goodspeed.

Although there will be some activity at the gate to Hanscom off Hartwell Road in Bedford, it will not entail large vehicles. The resurfacing project includes replacement of runway threshold lights with LED lighting, and staging for that phase will be on the so-called North Airfield area, Dragani said. He noted that conversion to LED will reduce the energy used for lighting the runway by half.

Pickups and utility type trucks will be making “minimal trips,” Dragani said, mostly in the daylight hours. When lights are installed where the runways intersect, the work will take place at night.

Also, there will be changes in flight patterns during the time the runway is closed for rehabilitation, and all aircraft will be diverted to the long runway – which already handles 80 percent of Hanscom traffic.

The short runway will be closed for 37 days starting in June. After it reopens, there will be a 30-day “curing period;” then the runway will close intermittently for application of markings and groovings, Dragani said.

The project also will feature restoration of more than nine acres of grass along the sides of the 5-23 runway. Dragani explained that the pavement was originally sized for military aircraft, and now it doesn’t have to be so wide.

Design on the north segment resurfacing is scheduled to begin in the fall.

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