PLATTSBURGH Plattsburgh International Airport will temporarily close its runway, thus suspending incoming or outgoing flights, from April 13 to about June 22 to allow the repair of almost 4,400 feet of the middle part of the runway.
“Concrete is a 16-inch (runway) concrete, and while concrete has a long life, it does not last forever,” Airport Director Chris Craig told The Press-Republic.
Craig explained that the 11,759-meter runway repair process began back in 2008, when about 2,000 meters at the southern end were rebuilt. Another section approximately 2,000 meters was completed in 2018.
“The last part is the runway balance that we will start in April and finish on or around Labor Day, some time in September,” Craig said.
“The downside of having a runway is at a point where you will have to do the middle part and that will require closing it.”
The remaining section will be divided into segments of about 4,400 meters that stretch between the runway and 3,700 feet at the northern end.
Work on the first is one that requires the planned temporary closure starting April 13th.
Craig said Plattsburgh International has coordinated with a range of stakeholders at the airport, including airlines, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Aviation Administration, and tenants, so they are aware of the dates.
Craig said the project is being overseen by the airport engineering consultants, Syracuse C&S Companies.
According to the resolution passed by the Clinton County Legislature to bid for the project, Rifenburg Construction Inc. is the contractor. The Troy-based company submitted an estimate of $ 12.5 million.
Craig explained that, normally, the Federal Aviation Administration funds 90 percent of such projects, with New York State and Clinton County sharing the remaining 10 percent.
But since entering funding last year, the Coronavirus Economic Assistance, Relief and Assistance Act (CARES) dictates that 100 percent of the project be funded by the FAA.
When all is done, the total cost of repairing the entire runway, starting with construction that took place in 2008, amounts to about $ 20 million, Craig said.
“If we were to replace the existing runway with concrete instead of asphalt, it would have been cost-prohibitive,” he added.
Once the runway opens, there will be about 7,000 feet of runway usable for airlines and others to use as the northern edge is restored during the summer.
Craig said the June 22 reopening date could be extended if work is completed.
“Ultimately we want the project to be completed, but we want it to be done safely,” he added, noting that it will be about 20 years before the track is restored again.
Craig said the hope is that, due to the distribution of vaccines and the zeal of the public, the resumption of flights at the airport will coincide with the easing of some COVID-19 restrictions, such as those on cross-border travel and return air travel levels disi normal.
“We hope the weather will be such that we can have added air service here and get people to travel again.”
Craig said he has flown recently and, although the experience was certainly different, it was safe.
“Airlines have taken many precautions, many extra efforts to ensure that air travel is as safe as possible. We want to reassure the traveling public that, if you are going to fly, a) it is safe and a) we want to for you to fly from your local airport. “
Craig advised people to visit the airport website, flyplattsburgh.com, to stay up to date regarding runway closure and other changes.
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