For remote communities and mining operations, gravel runways serve as lifelines, bringing essential and otherwise inaccessible resources. The isolated nature of these small airstrips poses unique challenges for the engineers and managers tasked with maintaining the runways — chief among them, the problem of sourcing the materials needed to keep them operational.
In inaccessible locations like the Northwest Territories in Canada, gravel is rarely in steady supply — making it a precious and expensive commodity. Because of its scarcity in the NWT, gravel must be barged into these remote airports from great distances — and therefore at high costs — to be laid as runways.
Preserving the gravel once it is in place is therefore critical to the survival of the airstrips. Traditional gravel runways have an expected life cycle of only five to ten years, as heavy airplane traffic and extreme weather contribute to the surface’s quick degradation. Dust is an early sign of a deteriorating runway, and fines lost as dust lead to dangerous marbling that damages planes and puts pilots (and passengers) at risk.
Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc.’s gravel runway experts know how important it is to conserve the materials used in these unpaved runways, which is why they developed the Fines Preservation Program. The program binds the surface of the runway, creating pavement-like strength and eliminating dust — 80-90% of gravel and fines that before would have been lost are now preserved. This treatment extends a runway’s lifecycle by 7 to 20 years, while simultaneously limiting airport maintenance costs and damage to airplanes. With the help of Midwest’s experts, you’ll enjoy smooth takeoffs and landings for years to come.