Newport Airport waiting for bids to open on its new runway upgrade – but there may be a wrinkle…hopefully it won’t be “cheep!”
The Newport City Council got a little scare today on a threatened species of bird that has the potential to throw a scheduling burp into the renovation of the runways at Newport Airport. It’s called the “Streaked Horned Lark,” and although biological maps show the “threatened species” is likely to be spotted in Lincoln County, none have been found here. Lots of them nest in and around the Corvallis Airport area, but thus far, none here on the coast. The birds typically nest from May through July. So we’re right on the end of their baby chick season.
The city’s eight million dollar runway improvement project is expected to begin construction either this summer or next. The contractor bids are due to be opened tomorrow, Tuesday. Depending on which firm gets the bid to resurface the runways and their own scheduling capabilities, the project could begin within a few weeks. If they wait a year, and enough Streaked Horned Larks are found nesting in the airport area, it might push the start of construction into August of 2014. If no nests are found the project could get underway earlier in the summer. Total construction time ranges from three to three and a half months. The main runway’s width will be reduced and it’s runway lights moved closer in accordingly. The project also entails reconfiguring the runway’s storm water drain system.
The $8 million project is 90% funded by the Federal Aviation Administration, a half million more from ODOT’s Connect Four fund with the rest ponied up by the city’s general fund. The airport is still using the original runway that was laid down during its initial construction decades ago.
During construction the airport will remain open, but only half a runway at a time. Then, when construction turns to the intersection where the airport’s two runways come together, the airport will be shut down completely for ten days while that work is completed.
City officials expect to know very shortly which summer the work will take place – this summer or next summer.