Airport runways to be repaved

BOB HOPE AIRPORT ? The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority unanimously approved a runway rehabilitation project on Monday, awarding a $10.3-million contract to Sully Miller Contracting Co. to break ground on the project this summer.

The average life of a runway is about 10 years, airport spokesman Victor Gill said.

It's been about that long since Bob Hope's were repaved, airport authority Commissioner Charlie Lombardo said.

"It's been about 10 years since we last repaved," Lombardo said. "We definitely need repaving, especially at the beginning of each runway. It's a bumpy ride and you really notice it too."

Lombardo said the time was right to rehabilitate the runway, despite escalating construction costs.

To rehabilitate the runway, contractors will remove the top surface of the pavement and replace it with a fresh layer of asphalt, Gill said. The work will be performed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., with construction affecting only one runway at a time, Gill said.

Scheduling construction during off hours should keep the project from affecting daytime traffic at the airport, he said.

"It won't interfere with overall operations at the airport for a protracted period," Gill said.

Federal Express has voiced an interest in adjusting the proposed construction hours to allow for its early morning freight arrivals, Gill said. But crews would have to make up any hours lost to a shortened schedule, he said.

"The fact that the work time would be shortened would create an economic cost to the project above what the contracted cost calls for," he said.

Adjusting construction hours would result in added costs of $140,000, airport staffers estimate. Federal Express would be required to front those additional costs if the company opts not to adapt its flight schedule to accommodate repairs, Gill said.

The airport will tap authority reserves to finance $6 million of the project, as a part of a reimbursement of Federal Aviation Administration funds that the authority acquired to purchase the former Lockheed site. The remaining cost of the project will be covered with federal funds derived from the Passenger Facility Charge, which airports collect routinely from airline travelers to pay for airport improvement projects.

The cost of the rehabilitation project significantly exceeds the original $6 million estimate, Gill said. Since asphalt is a derivative of petroleum, the rising costs of oil drove up construction costs, Gill said. In addition, the demand for paving remains high, he said.

The project will likely extend through the summer and wrap up sometime in September, Gill said.

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