Rain delays runway work
While initial projections had the new runway at the Washington Municipal Airport being completed by the end of August, rain has delayed progress on the project and the end date has been moved to mid- to late September.
Mike Roe, vice president of the Washington Airport Commission and liaison for the project to replace runway 13/31, said today that the project is still proceeding and that the first hand pours of cement around the end of the runway were laid Friday. He also said that construction workers are laying down rock for the remainder of the pours.
“They were delayed by rain, but they have been making good time recently,” Roe said.
Work on the project began in May. The 3,400-foot runway is being rebuilt about 750 feet to the northwest of its former location. The runway is also being widened. The Federal Aviation Administration paid for $2 million of the $2.2 million project, with the city paying for the remainder.
Roe said that some items that hadn’t been expected had been found during the construction, which required the project to be changed slightly. He said at the end of the former runway, crews found about a 4-foot section of black dirt. FAA regulations now require runways to be built on clay. The dirt was removed and clay added. Additional clay had to be added to another location.
A manhole was also located on the site of the new runway. It has been sealed. While Roe said that the changes would add cost to the project, the FAA is still paying for 90 percent of the project, which means it will also pay for 90 percent of the overages.
He also said there are some areas where money has been saved on the project. He said that the crews had not needed to remove as much of the taxiway as had been anticipated.
Before being replaced, the runway was about 50 years old — older than recommended for runways — and there had been many reports that it was breaking up from the bottom side. Most city streets are replaced after 30 years.
While attempting to purchase the land, the commission had to ask the city to use eminent domain to acquire the land to the northwest of the airport in order to get the federal money.