State Proceeds with $4 Million Cape Blanco Runway Rehabilitation Project to Rehabilitate WW2-Era Airport in Preparation for Expected Cascadia Submerged Earthquake | Wild Rivers focus
John Ross Ferrara / TODAY @ 4:30pm / Emergencies, Local Government Proceeds with $4 Million Cape Blanco Runway and Electrical Rehabilitation Project to Rehabilitate WW2-Era Airport in Preparation for Expected Cascadia Earthquake
Dusk airport at today’s county business meeting.
The Oregon Department of Aviation is set to move forward with a $4 million plan to restore the 75-year-old runway and electrical system at Cape Blanco State Airport in Cary County, which dates back to World War II.
The project was made possible by the passing of Oregon House Bill 5202, which was signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown on April 4. and the Oregon Emergency Board.
Tony Beach, deputy director of the Oregon Department of Aviation, which owns Cape Blanco State Airport, spoke about the project at today’s Cary County Board of Commissioners meeting.
“Pictures [of the runway] “Since late last year it is showing extensive crack and deterioration point as the pavement is starting to turn into rubble,” Beach told commissioners. “The original electrical system is more or less non-existent. It does not work “.
This proposed project will not only grind and replace the entire 2.5-inch-long runway surface, but will also repress the existing base track and install new electrical systems, which include regulators, new runway lighting and navigational aids.
The proposed project is expected to cost the state $3,821,185, with $544,455 in emergency funds available. More than $2.5 million of these funds will be provided by the state through HB 5220. The Oregon Department of Aviation has also pledged an additional $1,222,779.20 for this project. The airport is not currently eligible to receive federal funds. Upon completion, the renovation is expected to extend the airport’s usability from 20 to 40 years.
The state and province’s eagerness to repair rarely used airport infrastructure relies on data that identifies the airstrip as the only runway on the southern coast likely to survive earthquakes and tsunamis caused by a major earthquake in the Cascadia subduction zone.
The airport also has the fourth longest runway on the Orion Coast, and is one of two coastal airports in Oregon with a runway wide enough to support medium and large aircraft. The airport also supports air ambulance and search and rescue crews, and serves as the county’s official staging center for the military’s large-scale emergency response.
“The county has had its eye on this massive facility for a long time,” Commissioner Boyce said. “And also the state. The other counties are looking at it in terms of a major earthquake and all that might ensue.”
In the event of a major disaster, the airport would be a lifeline for up to 10,000 residents of Cary County. However, Cary County Emergency Management Coordinator Monica Ward reminded commissioners at today’s meetings that risk mitigation studies show that a major earthquake can destroy county bridges and cause massive landslides that cut off Highway 101 — effectively cutting the county’s infrastructure in half. .
After the Cascadia event, [the government] It’s going to move a lot of resources to that airport,” Ward said. “But we also need to look at the transportation resilience assessment that was published last fall that shows that we likely won’t have any routes going south to move those resources.”
Based on county assessments, the worst landslides caused by Cascadia subduction events are expected to occur near Humbug Mountain State Park.
“The landslides we see there after a major earthquake are likely to prevent us from reopening 101 from there,” Ward said. The state has a 5- to 6-year plan to reopen transportation routes. We are looking forward to 5 to 6 years [of rebuilding Highway 101] Only for Cary County. I encourage everyone to look at this assessment as it will open our eyes to consider future planning.”
ODA plans to begin the project design process in May. If all goes well, Beach said construction could begin by September 2023, and the airport could be fully renovated by January 2024.
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