HUNTSVILLE, Ala.--Excavator crews at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in Oklahoma are busily removing 36 underground safety shelters and two small facilities along a line of bomb production facilities.
The $219,843 project started March 13 and is expected to be finished by the end of April.
The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville’s Facilities Reduction Program is managing the project using fiscal year 2012 funds and working with the Corps of Engineers Tulsa District and McAlester garrison.
The shelters are situated at the corners of the production buildings. Their purpose was to provide a safe location for employees to take shelter in the event it looked like something on the production line was going to blow up. Newer, improved safety measures are now in place, making the shelters obsolete.
“MCAAP was originally constructed as a Navy installation,” said Andrew Scherman, the project engineer at McAlester. “At that time, the Navy approached fire fighting with the mindset that everyone is a fire fighter. These dugouts were constructed as a location where the employees could gather for safety during these events. Since MCAAP is now an Army installation and the Army has a fundamentally different approach to fire fighting, these dugouts are considered obsolete structures with no purpose.”
Nearly 100 percent of the material from the project, which includes two additional small facilities, will be used to fill in a depressed area to make the surface flat. When finished, both the sites of the safety shelters and the newly level site will be leveled and seeded with grass.
“The dugouts are constructed of reinforced concrete and as such were deemed excellent candidates for diversion from typical landfills,” Scherman said. “MCAAP has various locations where erosion is problematic, and crushed rock and concrete are deposited in these areas to help fill or stabilize the soils. The approved debris from this demolition contract will prove very helpful in minimizing these problematic areas.”
Removing the safety structures is a relatively straight-forward process, but workers have to be conscientious of underground utilities. Locations of the underground utility lines are marked with blue to ensure they can be seen by workmen on the site.
“We have been working with the Public Works Director to locate the underground utility lines,” said FRP project manager Ricky Stennett. “That’s probably the biggest challenge to this project. We don’t want to interfere with those lines.”