California City Municipal Airport Grows

Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Runway project put out for bid
California City wants facility to stay open during work
The Antelope (CA) Valley Press

CALIFORNIA CITY – The City Council unanimously agreed to move forward with seeking bids to widen the runway at the California City Municipal Airport, with the stipulation that the facility remain open and operational during the construction. The runway is to be expanded from 60 feet to 75 feet wide. The project also includes relocating and replacing the lighting system, as well as repaving the existing runway area with an overlay. The runway project is part of the Municipal Airport Master Plan approved by the council in December 2005 and accepted by the Federal Aviation Administration a month later. It is to be funded by a $1.79 million FAA grant and $99,850 each in matching funds from the state and city coffers.

The city’s matching funds were budgeted in the 2006-07 capital improvements budget, funds which will be carried forward in the 2007-08 budget, Way said.

The construction, expected to take approximately two months to complete, was planned to close the airport. This is in accordance with FAA regulations, which call for closing the runway when work is under way within 200 feet of the runway centerline, said City Engineer Jerry Helt.

However, closing the airport entirely was met with stiff resistance by the City Council and community members.

“This is really important to the economy of this town,” said Jim Quiggle of the California City Economic Development Corp.

Quiggle noted that during a previous construction project which lengthened the runway, the closure nearly put airport companies out of business. Instead, changes to which portion of the runway is used, called a displaced threshold, was employed to allow operations to continue.

Such a measure may be possible with this project as well, officials said.

Helt also suggested that the airport could remain open on weekends but closed during the week while construction occurs.

A requirement to maintain access to the airport will be included as part of the bid package for the construction contract, Helt said.

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