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Runway plan a two-phase project

Posted: April 15, 2012 - 12:11am

The Juneau International Airport Runway Safety Area project’s second phase will be broken into two phases itself due to funding issues, however the project planning is taking greater shape.

Airport manager Jeannie Johnson told the airport board on Wednesday the amount provided by the Federal Aviation Administration is less than what it will take to complete the entire second phase, so it’s being broken down into Phase 2a and Phase 2b — though most of the work will still take place in this funding cycle.

“I think the last time we heard about this Phase 2 runway safety area improvements, we were talking about an entire Phase 2 for about $32 million,” Johnson said. “In the meantime the FAA has come back and said they can’t afford to fund $32 million all at once. So we’re going forward with about $20 million.”

That leaves about $12 million to $13 million of work for 2013. Johnson said the FAA still intends to fund the project to meet the 2013 goal of implementing the new runway thresholds.

Brian Hanson, manager of Aviation Engineering, explained how the upcoming phase is shaping up.

Hanson said this work is primarily for the runway safety area — which will include extending and shifting the runway on both ends, coordination with the FAA on the new Medium Intensity Approach Lighting System, realigning taxiways ‘B’, ‘E’ and ‘G’ to accommodate the runway shift, and repaving the Float Plane Access Road.

Hanson said the first part to be worked on will be section 2-6 of the runway area — and the contract will require the contractor to work only on that section until completion before moving on to the other sections.

This section extends the runway out 500 feet to the east, extends taxiway ‘A’ and relocates taxiway ‘G’ along with the compass calibration pad. There also will be markings and lighting, and JAWS equipment will be moved to that end too, along with airport utilities.

Hanson said as soon as the contractor is ready to work, a temporary displaced threshold will be put in place. He said they need to maintain a minimum of 600 feet of separation between that area and any equipment.

“That will be this fall before it starts snowing,” Hanson said. “The landing threshold will basically be the same as it is today. We’re not doing anything to Alaska Airlines operations or any other people’s operations from the start of the project until next spring as far as instrument procedures go.”

Hanson said part of their safety planning for keeping the airport operational during construction is restricting work to this section before moving to other pieces.

He said there will likely be a few temporary closures of taxiway ‘G’ toward the end when equipment and pavers need in, but there should be no full closures of the runway.

The opposite end, section 2-8, has a lesser degree of shifting, Hanson said. That will move 120 feet to the east to meet runway safety improvements. Hanson said there will be a lot of utility and lighting work on that end, particularly with the Medium Intensity Approach Lighting System. Taxiway ‘B’ also will shift. Hanson said this work would likely begin in the spring of 2013.

“Aircraft can still back taxi here and use the full runway length, but the landing distance will be shortened for that construction,” Hanson said. “We anticipate construction on this end to be less than (section 2-6); 35-45 days rather than a couple of months on the other end.”

There will be about 600 feet of crushed rock on both ends of the runway after the project is completed for the safety area.

Hanson said when all these pieces are completed, the switch from the current system to the new one will seem like it’s overnight.

New paint markings (and colors) will go down and the lights will be switched. He said this will take about a week.

Hanson said the Float Plan Access Road also will eventually be paved.

“It’s a lot of road,” he said. “We’re also replacing all the culverts on that road.”

Funding for remaining work wouldn’t be available until after October of 2013, which includes fencing and gates, culverts and more drainage work.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at sarah.day@juneauempire.com.

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