Local dignitaries and officials mark the opening of the Northwest Regional Airport’s 1,500-foot addition to its main runway in September 2005. (File photo)

Runway repaving contract awarded

Work expected to take eight weeks

Work has already started on a two-month project to repave the 7,500-foot long main runway at the Northwest Regional Airport.

The $6.828 million contract was let to Terrace Paving late last month and the work, which began July 1, is being done at night so as not to interfere with scheduled departures and arrivals at the facility.

“We hope the work will be done by the end of August,” said airport general manager Carman Hendry of the repaving which follows a set out maintenance plan for the runway.

Just over half — 55 per cent — of the financing comes from the federal government and the rest will come from an airport improvement per-passenger fee of $7 which is collected by the airlines and then remitted to the airport.

“We are now waiting for approval from the airlines regarding the fee,” said Hendry.

It’s that fee which is helping pay for the airport’s portion of the $18.4 million airport terminal expansion project which officially opened last month. The federal and provincial governments and the Northern Development Initiative Trust provided the rest of the money.

READ MORE: Northwest Regional Airport to have newly paved runway this year

Federal approval for the repaving project came through this spring from a program designed to help finance airport projects.

The last major repaving of the main runway called 15-33 took place in 2001.

Back then the main runway was 6,000 feet in length and an additional 1,500 feet was added in 2005 in anticipation of serving larger aircraft.

The main runway is to be closed between midnight and 9:30 a.m. and, at a minimum, between midnight and 5:20 a.m. That means the airport’s second and shorter runway, 03-21, will be used for first departures early in the morning.

But the main runway will be available for emergencies pending 90 minutes notice to clear it of work vehicles.

The repaving will consist of a complete overlay of the entire 7,500-foot length with the original 6,000 feet of asphalt being ground up and mixed with new material and then laid down before the overlay is placed.

In the meantime, the airport’s governing society has reported a two per cent increase in passenger traffic to 222,054 passengers for the 2017 fiscal year which ended March 31 compared to the 2016 fiscal year.

The increase also means a step up of the airport’s rescue and firefighting service to meet federal requirements. This will require more staffing as of August.

The Terrace-Kitimat Airport Society’s governing board has had a change in some of its directors as of its June 21 annual general meeting.

Gary MacCarthy of Terrace, a director at large, returns as president and Bill Hickman from Kitimat, another director at large, returns as vice president. Also returning is another director at large from Kitimat, Bill Eynon.

New to the board is Julie San Juan from Terrace representing the City of Terrace, Tom Keller from Terrace representing the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce, John Bandstra from Terrace representing the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine and William Houghton from Kitimat representing the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce.

The above-mentioned organizations make up the ownership structure of the airport society which assumed control and responsibility for the airport from the federal government in 1991.

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