The system that monitors noise from Bob Hope Airport is about to get an overhaul for the first time in 30 years.
The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Monday tapped Lochard Corp., an international airport logistics firm, to replace its aging noise-monitoring gear. The cost for the new equipment at 20 sites around the city is $737,000.
After a year, the airport will also pay Lochard at least $92,000 a year for maintenance and warranties, according to the agreement.
Airport officials said the existing system dates back to 1980 and works well, but the manufacturer has declared it obsolete.
"We've had great success with it," said airport environmental programs director Mark Handyment. But with the equipment out of production, "you are down to spare parts to keep your system alive."
The airport will upgrade existing monitors — essentially microphones on poles or standards scattered in the neighborhoods near the airport — and install three new ones. Monitoring stations are located as far north as Vineland Avenue near Roscoe Boulevard, as far south as Burbank Boulevard near Hollywood Way; and from the intersection of Sherman Way near the Hollywood Freeway in the west to San Fernando Boulevard at Buena Vista Street in the east.
Lochard Vice President Robert Brodecky said it will take about nine months to complete the transition to the new technology at Bob Hope Airport.
At $737,000, the system came in well below the $1 million earmarked for the project.
"Naturally, it is a surprise when things are cheaper than you estimate them to be," said airport spokesman Victor Gill. "The fact that it is less expensive gives us another little margin for flexibility for the way the budget will work in the coming year."
The airport, which served 4.6 million passengers in 2009, approved a $96-million annual budget in May.
Complaints about noise have been a nagging problem at Bob Hope Airport, but officials said gains in aviation technology and better noise insulation in homes and businesses have had an impact.
"Burbank is a very built-out community without very much vacant space near the airport," Handyment said. "Noise has been a traditional hot button, but I think things have settled down of late."
California regulations require the airport to generate no more than 65 decibels on average over a 24-hour period. The most recent available data, for the last three months of 2009, showed no violations.