City approves $23 million bid to replace runway ahead of airport closure

A Canadair Regional Jet prepares for liftoff for a flight to Phoenix, Ariz., St. George Regional Airport, Utah, Nov. 4, 2016 | File photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A St. George-based company has been chosen to replace thousands of feet of runway at the St. George Regional Airport during the facility’s temporary closure next year.

Employees work on the runway at St. George Regional Airport, St. George, Utah, Aug. 21, 2018 | File photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

A bid in the amount of $23,656,217 was awarded to JP Excavating to replace the runway, which has sustained extensive water damage in the years since it was built. The St. George City Council approved the bid during a public meeting Thursday evening.

Approximately 7,000 feet of runway will be removed and replaced. About 5,400 feet in the center of the runway will also be excavated 17 feet down to remove blue clay. The contractor will then place a water barrier over the entire 7,000 feet of replaced runway.

The project is expected to take four months to complete, requiring the airport to be closed to all flights from May 29-Sept. 26, 2019.

Read more: St. George Regional Airport to close for 4 months in 2019

The FAA also reviewed and approved JP Excavating’s bid, agreeing with a city consultant’s assessment that the cost is reasonable based on a price/cost analysis.

Approximately 91 percent of the cost of the project, which will total an estimated $26-27 million, is being footed by the Federal Aviation Administration. The other 9 percent will be paid for by airport fees collected from passengers on each flight.

“It won’t be coming out of the taxpayer’s funds here,” St. George Councilman Ed Baca said of the project’s price tag. “You can see how wonderful that is to the taxpayers here.”

A plane gates at St. George Regional Airport, St. George, Utah, Aug. 21, 2018 | File photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

The FAA is requiring the city to certify that adequate supervision and inspection of the project is arranged and ensure that construction conforms to approved plans and specifications.

“To accomplish this, your resident engineer and inspectors must be familiar with the specification requirements and perform testing as required,” an FAA-issued letter to the airport manager states.

City officials say the runway was originally built to FAA standards, but cracks in the runway resulting from water seeping into it has required constant patching.

Before next year’s closure, which is being scheduled during the airport’s lesser-traveled season, the city will continue to patch the areas of runway at issue, allowing flights to continue to and from Salt Lake City, Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles.

During the City Council meeting, a lease was also approved for Just Plane Homes LLC to build eight t-hangars on several lots at the airport for the storage of private aircraft. Mayor Jon Pike said the company is aware of the airport’s impending closure.

Update Oct. 1. The airport’s closure dates have been changed from April 25-Aug. 21 to May 29-Sept. 26, 2019.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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6 Comments

  • FedUp September 21, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    “It won’t be coming out of the taxpayer’s funds here,” St. George Councilman Ed Baca said of the project’s price tag. “You can see how wonderful that is to the taxpayers here.”

    What? It is the citizens of STG that use the airport, so we’ll be paying. Who is responsible for the original poor work? What are they chipping in?

    Is this the same government that asks us to trust them with the multi-billion dollar Lake Powell Pipeline?

    • tazzman September 22, 2018 at 2:01 pm

      If this is any sign of things, that pipeline will have more holes than Swiss cheese.

  • Jeannette September 21, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    “Who is responsible for the original poor work? What are they chipping in?” I echo this. Who was the contractor on it? I’d say they own the problem. Maybe the original contractor knows who to pay off?

  • sheepobserver September 22, 2018 at 8:17 am

    The contractor may have done the runway to the engineer’s specs.
    Maybe it’s the engineer’s fault for the design?

    Or maybe the engineer got bad info. from the city.
    So maybe it’s the city’s fault?

    Probably all of it is true to some extent. Not that I know how the process really works.
    Somewhere along the line, somebody screwed up.

    • sheepobserver September 22, 2018 at 8:24 am

      Reminds me of highway 87 in San Jose. They had chronic problems with the road sinking shortly after it was built, and it was repaired, and repaired, and repaired……..

      This freeway opened in 1993 and in less than a year huge dips began to appear between Highway 85 and Interstate 280. It took more than 10 years and $25 million to fix the problem. Or so it seemed.

      Engineers knew the mushy soil under the concrete would shift, as the highway is located near the Guadalupe River in an area prone to flooding that was once a swamp. They even packed an extra 10 to 20 feet of dirt on top of the elevated roadway and waited a year before removing the dirt and opening the freeway, giving it what they thought would be enough time to settle. But when parts of it sank as much as 21/2 feet, crews then punched pipes through the highway as deep as 27 feet, using grout to fill in voids below the surface where drains collapsed.

      Caltrans will continue to dig out the concrete and level the bumpiest sections over the next couple of months, with plans to “permanently” address the settlement issue next year.

      Again.

  • utahdiablo September 22, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    “It won’t be coming out of the taxpayer’s funds here,” St. George Councilman Ed Baca said of the project’s price tag. “You can see how wonderful that is to the taxpayers here.”….Who the hell do you think funds the FAA Eddie?….We, the US taxpayer….this is just more of the BS thrown on us here in southern Utah, we were told the runway would be fine for many many years and could handle the aircraft coming into and out of SGU…but nope, just like the flight pattern will not have these large planes flying over your homes…just more BS….and the “Water did the damage” huh…oh boy

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