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TSgt. C.J. White, a heavy equipment operator assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, works on the runway at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, on June 8, 2014. Air Force photo by MSgt. Cohen A. Young.

Air Force civil engineers at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan completed a critical repair project for the base’s main runway ahead of schedule. Airmen from the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron and the 577th Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Squadron repaired four sets of Ultra High Molecular Weight polyethylene panels on the main runway, which were located under the arresting cable system. The panels are crucial to prevent the cables, when rolled over, from eroding grooves in the pavement, states an Air Forces Central Command release. Repairs to the panels included testing over 900 large bolts, and taking out any that failed to meet torque requirements. A total of 502 of the 992 large bolts were replaced, according to the release. Initial plans projected 16 outages for the runway at Bagram, requiring 12 days, but engineers completed the task in only eight days, said Maj. Ryan Kaspari, 455th ECES operations chief. “This project will likely be the most important task our airmen complete while deployed,” said Lt. Col. Jason Lay, 455th ECES commander. “We are handing over a completely operational airfield.”