St. George airport 4-month closure dates pushed back

File photo of airplane at St. George Regional Airport, St. George, Utah, Aug. 21, 2018 | File photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News.

ST. GEORGE — While the four-month closure of the St. George Regional Airport for runway repair is still on track for 2019, airport officials have delayed the starting date of the closure by one month.

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

Originally scheduled for closure from late April through August, the airport will now be closed to all flights from May 29-Sept. 26, 2019, for the runway repair and replacement project.

St. George Support Services Director Marc Mortensen told St. George News that the time frame was shifted at the request of the air service provider, St. George-based SkyWest Airlines. The new date range will allow flights to continue through the Memorial Day weekend.

The airport’s runway has experienced extensive water damage in the years since it started operation in 2011. Approximately 7,000 feet of runway will be need to be removed and replaced.

The project is anticipated to cost approximately $26-27 million. About 91 percent of the cost of the project will be paid for through a grant provided by the Federal Aviation Administration, a portion of which was allocated to the project last week.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced Thursday $205 million in supplemental funding for infrastructure grants to small airports in 34 states, $11.1 million of which will go to St. George Regional Airport.

The money is the first increment of supplemental funding grants that will go to projects at 37 airports, primarily for those serving rural communities, according to a press release issued by the FAA. These projects include runway reconstruction and rehabilitation and maintenance of taxiways, aprons and terminals.

The funding is part of a larger goal of Chao’s to strengthen the safety and efficiency of the country’s airports, a goal that is in line with SkyWest’s hopes for the planned repairs at St. George Regional Airport.

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

In a statement to St. George News, SkyWest spokesman Layne Watson said the airline supports the airport’s efforts to improve the runway and maintain a safe operating environment.

Part of the airport’s planned improvements includes rebuilding the runway in a way that avoids future water damage. A water barrier will be installed over the entire 7,000 feet of replaced runway after the contractor excavates 17 feet down to remove blue clay.

According to the city of St. George, which owns the airport, the runway was originally built to FAA design specifications but has nonetheless required constant patching due to the water damage.

A stipulation of the FAA grant requires the city to certify that adequate supervision and inspection of the project is arranged in order to ensure construction conforms to approved plans and specifications.

The city has already secured a contractor to perform the runway replacement. During the airport’s closure, there are also plans to upgrade facilities inside the terminal and expand the parking area.

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

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  • Mike October 1, 2018 at 7:36 am

    I still find it absolutely ridiculous that this is taking place. But at least it’s now happening during the hottest 4 months, which are the worst months for aircraft here anyway.

  • Carpe Diem October 1, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Holy Moly

  • Not_So_Much October 1, 2018 at 8:41 am

    Is there any chance of getting to the bottom on how this happened? Is someone being ‘protected’ from a costly lawsuit? Blue clay is a known issue here and steps can be taken when encountered, unless well they don’t.

    • iceplant October 1, 2018 at 12:28 pm

      Well, that depends on who you’d like to lay blame with.
      The initial construction company was RE Monks Const. based out of Phoenix. When they got into it with the City of St. George, Monks left and the rest of the construction was completed by Quality Excavation.

      I can’t say one way or another exactly WHO is to blame. That job was a nightmare for everyone on it. Including a near two-month halt to work when the job site was hit with a foot of snow and about 70% finished. I worked on that project as a heavy equipment operator for RE Monks. Once Quality took over, I left that job in the dust. Of all the projects I’ve ever worked on from Casa Grande, AZ to Hurricane, UT, that airport still leaves me disappointed that I was part of that crew. What a shame.

      • KR567 October 1, 2018 at 9:16 pm

        Well you working on that crew definatly explains what was wrong

        • iceplant October 2, 2018 at 3:50 pm

          And you, having a meaningless opinion, don’t matter to me.

  • tazzman October 1, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    If the bill for this wasn’t being footed mostly by the feds, I would guarantee St. George city would be far more thorough in the contractor’s guarantees for a great job.

  • justsaying October 1, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Shirley you can’t be serious?

    • KR567 October 1, 2018 at 9:17 pm

      you shouldn’t call him Shirley …lol !

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