Fresno Yosemite International Airport is getting a $3.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to finish a 360-foot runway extension required under federal safety regulations. – The money, announced by Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, is part of an annual Federal Aviation Administration entitlement program. “The city receives this approximate amount every year,” said Kevin Meikle, interim airports director for the city of Fresno. “Normally we get this grant much earlier in the year, but this year the sequestration delayed the award.”
The money will allow for the completion of construction that began in February with an earlier $6 million FAA grant.
FAA regulations require that airports have a clear 1,000-foot safety zone at each end of runways. In Fresno, there was plenty of space at the Chestnut Avenue end of the runway, but to the southeast the zone encroached onto Clovis Avenue. “The FAA told us we needed to shift the runway a little bit so the imaginary 1,000-foot area was entirely on the airport,” Meikle said.
The construction work is extending the main runway by about 360 feet on its northwest end, toward Chestnut Avenue. “What it really does is give us about 300 more feet of licensed runway,” Meikle said. “That’s good because it improves safety, and pilots will always say yes to more asphalt.”
Meikle said the runway work is scheduled to be complete by mid-October.
The grant announcement by Costa added that Merced’s Castle Airport will receive more than $660,000 to build a new taxiway for airplanes to exit the main runway more quickly.