The City of Soldotna will use federal grant funds to repave a runway at its municipal airport, with construction expected to begin this month.
The runway to be rehabilitated is Runway 7-25, a 5,000-foot-long and 132-foot-wide asphalt runway with 12-foot-wide shoulders. In addition to that runway, the airport has a 2,500-foot-long, 60-foot-wide gravel runway. According to the city’s budget from last year, both are serviced by taxiways and apron areas.
Soldotna Public Works Director and Project Manager Kyle Kornelis said during a public meeting at the airport on Tuesday that the project is expected to take about six months to complete, and that they’d like to have it done in August.
Unlike other projects, Kornelis said this project won’t require a local match, meaning it will be paid for in full with federal money via a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. Like Kenai, the City of Soldotna has a fund specifically dedicated to the airport. Funding for operations and maintenance is mostly generated from tie-down and lease lots. Among the airport’s user groups are charter companies and transportation to tourists and fishermen.
Kornelis said that in pitching the project to the FAA, he emphasized the safety improvements it will bring to airport users. Specifically, they want to flatten a hump in the middle of the runway.
“A big component is to make this runway flat and then, with that work, we get to accomplish some of the things that are well-needed, which is all new asphalt,” Kornelis said Tuesday.
Due to the scope of the earthwork being proposed, Kornelis said, they are expecting a lot of waste material, which they will have to move.
Lease lots and tie downs are not expected to be affected by construction, but aircraft movement areas are expected to be reconfigured. Larger aircraft that need all 5,000 feet of runway may need to use an alternate airport. The airport’s gravel runway will remain open, with the parallel taxiway becoming the temporary paved runway.
Like many public works projects in Alaska, the final project timeline will ultimately be weather dependent.
“Hopefully it’s a beautiful, bluebird warm summer with lots of fish and good weather,” Kornelis said.
More information about the Runway 7-25 Rehabilitation Project can be found on the City of Soldotna’s website at soldotna.org.