Contractors wrap up runway construction as St. George Regional Airport reopening date approaches

ST. GEORGE — JP Excavating has announced that the St. George Regional Airport’s runway reconstruction is nearing completion — barring some final touches.

Allied Fencing installing 2,400 feet of new security fence, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of St. George Utah Regional Airport, St. George News

The airport has been closed for over three months as local excavation and construction companies worked around the clock to complete the redesigned, 5,400-foot section of runway.

Officials closed the airport May 29 to address increasing issues resulting from blue clay under the runway. Over time, the clay had retained water that caused it to expand, creating an uneven surface.

According to Airport Manager Richard Stehmeier, the airport is on track to reopen Sept. 26 with regular flights to Salt Lake City, Denver, Los Angeles and Phoenix, as well as new a flight route to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

The first flight from St. George Regional Airport to Dallas-Fort Worth is scheduled to depart at 7:05 a.m. on Sept. 26.

A north-to-south look at the new runway, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of St. George Regional Airport, St. George News

“We’re looking forward to reopening and offering our services to our customers again,” Stehmeier said. “It’s been an absolute amazing project and really incredibly smooth.”

Contractors dug 17 feet into the ground to excavate the blue clay before the runway was filled with 5 feet of neutralized clay plug material and another 12 feet of fill material.

An impermeable water membrane was placed on top to keep water from seeping into the soil, and an over 22,000-foot drainage pipe was also installed to help remove water from the area.

In the next week, 2,400 feet of security fencing will be placed around the perimeter of the airport, according to a news release from St. George Regional Airport. Electricians have already finished installing canned runway lights and signs and are testing wire conductors and grounds.

A south to north view of the new runway, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of St. George Regional Airport, St. George News

Temporary pavement markings and the final asphalt treatment are almost finished, and a test will be performed to ensure air traffic is not adversely affected through loss of friction.

The Federal Aviation Administration will issue Airport Operating Certificates “when appropriate,” according to the news release, and perform an inspection after the airport opens. Contractors will also add grooves to the new sections of the runway and final markings in October.

The FAA covered about 90% of the project’s approximately $26 million cost. The remaining costs were addressed by a passenger fee fund.

St. George Regional Airport is expected to host a number of reopening activities, which are in the final stages of planning.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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