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7th CES renovates traffic circle

The beautification of the Dyess Air Force Base traffic circle was completed on Aug. 7, 2018 and took a total of 500 man-hours from the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron.

The beautification of the Dyess Air Force Base traffic circle was completed on Aug. 7, 2018 and took a total of 500 man-hours from the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron. Due to the careful pre-planning by the Airmen, the traffic circle was closed only twice for a period of eight hours, and was open for all other periods of the beautification. (U.S. Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Rebecca Van Syoc)

U.S. Air Force Airmen with the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron prepare to fill the top layer of the traffic circle with cement during the beautification project taking place between July 8, 2018 and Aug. 7, 2018 at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

U.S. Air Force Airmen with the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron prepare to fill the top layer of the traffic circle with cement during the beautification project taking place between July 8, 2018 and Aug. 7, 2018 at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Since the traffic circle would have to be closed during any concrete work, the renovations were planned so the step only took a total of eight hours over two days to complete. (Courtesy Photo)

U.S. Air Force Airmen with the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron remove the mulch and dirt from the top tier of the traffic circle July 8, 2018 at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

U.S. Air Force Airmen with the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron remove the mulch and dirt from the top tier of the traffic circle July 8, 2018 at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. The section of the traffic circle would be later filled in with concrete to create a larger area available for Airmen to stand in events like wing retreat. (Courtesy Photo)

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Entering Dyess Air Force Base from Arnold gate, visitors and residents alike are greeted by the same several things each time: the 7th Security Forces Squadron Airmen manning the gate, the static B-1B Lancer and C-130H Hercules, the linear air park, and finally, the traffic circle.

Until the beginning of July, the traffic circle had been in dire need of renovations and updates. On July 8, 2018, the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron started the beautification process of the roundabout.

“It was very outdated and needed to be cleaned up,” said Staff Sgt. Zachary Wiltse, 7th Civil Engineer Squadron pavement and equipment craftsman. “For example, those taking part in wing retreat wouldn’t have the room to stand on the traffic circle itself due to the amount of space taken by the mulch. There were also issues with weeds and other details keeping it from looking as good as it could.”

The issues had been identified and renovations were planned several months prior to the start of the construction, in November of 2017. The renovations were completed by Aug. 7. Within that month, the 7th CES Airmen worked with several different career fields to ensure that the renovations were done at the highest quality for the smallest impact on Dyess’ daily traffic.

There were at least five Airmen working on any given day, and between 10 to 12 Airmen on days when 7th CES was pouring concrete. In total, the project took a total of 500 man-hours.

“In order for the renovations to be smooth, the process was done in a series of five stages,” said Airman 1st Class Brenton Allwood, 7th CES pavement and equipment journeyman. “We did it in carefully planned stages, since we would have to close the traffic circle on concrete-pouring days, and we wanted to disrupt normal traffic as little as possible.”

First, 7th CES had to remove the existing mulch, which would be replaced by carefully-planned layers of sand and gravel. While the mulch would allow for weeds and other plants to grow over time, the sand and gravel was treated with a pre-emergent herbicide, which would reduce time needed for future contractor work.

From there, concrete was added to the top layer of the traffic circle.

“By nature, it will respond to the environment and crack over time,” said Wiltse. “We added metal forms to help structure the concrete. By having forms within the sections, we can have some control over how cracks will form and can repair them accordingly when it happens.”

After completing several tasks, such as washing down the concrete and walls of the traffic circle with the help of the Dyess Fire Department, the renovations were finished.

“Though the entire process took a month, we only had to close it down for traffic twice, for about eight hours total,” said Wiltse. “We were able to update the traffic circle the way it needed and impact the base’s traffic as little as possible.”

Members of the 7th CES continuously work year round to ensure the buildings and structures throughout Dyess are well taken care of as they’ve seen normal wear and tear over the years.

Due to the hard work and diligence of the Airmen, visitors and residents alike can now see the updated traffic circle upon entering the base. First impressions are important, and with the renovations finished for the traffic circle, Dyess is certainly putting its best foot forward.