Webuild wins $357m contract in rebuild of Florida’s storm-flattened Tyndall air base

Demolition of the Emergency Operations Center at Tyndall Air Force Base started on 2 March 2022. It sheltered the base’s ‘ride-out crew’ during 2018’s Category 5 Hurricane Michael, but must now come down (Airman 1st Class Tiffany Price/US Air Force/Public domain)
Lane, the US subsidiary of Italy’s Webuild Group, has won a $357m contract in the multi-billion-dollar programme to rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida, which was all but flattened by Hurricane Michael in 2018.

Commissioned by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Lane will deliver roads, fencing, lighting, parking, water, wastewater, electrical, storm water and other infrastructure for the works package entitled the “Two-Phase Design and Construction Site Development and Utilities Phase I and II”.

The base found itself in the direct path of the Category 5 Hurricane Michael when it hit land on 10 October 2018, stirring up 162mph winds.

Most personnel were evacuated the day before, but a “ride-out crew” of 56 people stayed behind, sheltering on the second floor of the base’s Emergency Operations Center, which was deemed the safest on the site owing to its steel-reinforced concrete structure.

Crew members reported feeling the walls shake as the hurricane passed.

They emerged unscathed, but 484 buildings on the base were either badly damaged or destroyed. Of 11 operational dormitories, only three survived, requiring airmen to be housed in tents until temporary accommodation could be provided. Demolition of the Emergency Operations Center itself started in March this year.

The entire “Tyndall Rebuild” programme is expected to take up to seven years.

Lane expects to start its work in the summer of 2022 and conclude in mid-2026.

The contract brings to €3.1 billion the combined value of Webuild’s order book in North America, a market that generated 21% of the group’s revenues in 2021.

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