Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Monday, March 13 @ 3:59 p.m. / Infrastructure

Airport Authority Members Each Asked to Kick In $77,000 For Runway Rehab; Construction Anticipated For 2024

Runway 18-36 at the Del Norte County Regional Airport is showing alligator cracking and other signs of wear. | Photo courtesy of the Border Coast Regional Airport Authority


Runway 18-36 Rehab Presentation


The joint powers authority that oversees the Del Norte Regional Airport is asking each member agency to kick in $77,000 for a runway rehabilitation project.

The Border Coast Regional Airport Authority’s project engineer, WHPacific, is preparing the final design for a “mill and overlay” of Runway 18-36 at Jack McNamara Field. The project will remove the top layer of asphalt and replace it with new pavement, restoring the runway to like-new condition, Airport Director Ryan Cooley told the Wild Rivers Outpost on Monday.

The project also consists of replacing the airport’s incandescent runway lighting system with LED lights, Cooley said. Construction will begin in 2024.

“We are asking each member of the JPA to view this project the same way they would a vital section of roadway, bridge, underpass or overpass in their community, especially from a budget standpoint,” he said. “The total cost of this project is estimated to be around $8 million to $9.2 million.”

Federal Aviation Administration grant dollars, entitlement funds and passenger facility charges will pay for 95 percent of the project costs, Cooley told the Outpost. However a 5 to 15 percent match is required. According to Cooley, that’s about $400,000-$460,000.
The Border Coast Regional Airport Authority consists of Del Norte County and Crescent City in California; Curry County and Brookings in Oregon; as well as the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation and Elk Valley Rancheria.

The Smyrna, Tennessee-based Contour Airlines provides service between Crescent City and Oakland.

Cal-Ore Life Flight also maintains an air ambulance at the Del Norte County Regional Airport. Cal-Ore Vice President Dan Brattain said the ambulance service transports more than 1,000 patients annually out of the Del Norte County Regional Airport.

About half are Del Norte County residents, 35 percent are Curry County residents and 15 percent are visitors to the area.

According to Brattain, who sent a letter to JPA members Feb. 15, the airport’s runways were originally designed to be misaligned with the prevailing winds to provide real world crosswind training to military pilots.

In a PowerPoint presentation to the JPA, Cooley said the airport’s most recent pavement maintenance and management plan puts Runway 18-36 in poor to fair condition with alligator cracking along 50 feet of the runway just south of one of the two taxiways. The pavement is deteriorating, according to Cooley’s presentation.

“Construction of this project is slated to begin in mid 2024 and is estimated to take between 75-100 days,” Cooley told the Outpost. “This project will only affect Runway 18-36. Air travel is not anticipated to be impacted as we have our primary runway, Runway 12-30, available for use.”

Other upcoming pavement projects include the rehabilitation of Runway 12-30, tentatively scheduled for construction in 2027 as well as rehabilitation of both taxiways, Cooley said.

The airport’s runway rehabilitation project came up at a Crescent City Council meeting on Monday. Councilor Kelly Schellong told her colleagues that each member will be asked to contribute $77,000. But, she said, that ask could be a lot for some JPA members.

“One good thought process would be to have each JPA member invest $5,000 to $10,000 a year out of their budget into a capital improvement plan for the airport versus having to come up with it all at once,” she said, speaking to the planned 2027 rehabilitation of Runway 12-30. “We have a little bit of time to actually be able to budget it.”


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