posted on Mar, 27 2006 @ 10:48 PM
There is no 12-mile runway at Groom Lake. That is a myth.
The runway that causes all the confusion was built for the Lockheed A-12 (Project OXCART). When that airstrip (Runway 14/32) was constructed in 1960,
it was 8,500 feet long (concrete) with a 10,000 foot asphalt overrun onto the lakebed. There was a concrete turnaround pad at mid-lake and an unpaved
extension with a line (Abort Circle) curving off around the north end of the lakebed.
In the 1980s, the south end of the runway was extended (giving the concrete airstrip a length 13,000 feet plus overruns) because the north end of the
concrete strip was subject to flooding during the rainy season.
The runway was becoming increasingly expensive to maintain. In 1991, construction started on a new, parallel airstrip (Runway 14L/32R). When it was
completed in 1992, the old runway (now called 14R/32L) was reduced to 10,000 feet by closing most of the north half (as well as the overrun).
Eventually the original runway was closed entirely. The new strip has no lakebed extension, just a line to the Abort Circle. The new strip is also
about 13,000 feet, plus a little extra on each end, and 150 feet wide.
In 2001, South Delta Taxiway became Runway 12/30. It is about 5,420 feet long. There are also two crosswind runways (09/27 L&R and 03/21 L&R). marked
on the lakebed. They are roughly 10,000 feet long.