Colorado Springs Launches Investigation of Runway

The inquiry comes after the city-owned airport learned this month of claims calling into question the work by the concrete contractor in 1991.

"They (BB&B) should have been sued for a few hundred million. Instead it was about $3 million," Ruder said. "They should have had to rebuild the runway in Denver and Colorado Springs."

The FAA did not pay BB&B for its work at DIA because of the allegations, Brown said. Orange County refused to pay BB&B for some of the work it did at John Wayne Airport in 1990 because it was substandard and did not pass strength tests, according to a recent article by the California Aviation Alliance.

The FAA paid for about 95 percent of the Colorado Springs runway project in 1991, the FAA said. The FAA is funding 95 percent of the current runway project; the other 5 percent is funded by passenger facility charges, Earle said.

Engineers from CH2M Hill, who are working on the current runway project at Colorado Springs, are conducting random core samples of every layer of runway poured. The samples are tested by an independent laboratory. The engineers are not warned as to when the random inspections will occur, said Dirk Draper, manager of CH2M Hill's Colorado Springs office.

The engineers also are doing additional tests to control the amount and type of aggregate used in the concrete. The FAA maintains it was the type of local soils used in the 1991 runway project, not the amount of soil used, that caused the premature corrosion of the Colorado Springs runway.

Copyright: The Gazette -- 7/28/06

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