June 18, 2011

A collaborative effort between airport tenants and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) officials has led to an agreement to substantially reduce the scheduled time to recondition the primary runway at the busy Van Nuys Airport (VNY) in Southern California.

Earlier this year, LAWA – through its hired engineering team, HNTB Corporation – submitted a plan to Van Nuys tenants that called for the entire 8,000-foot length of Runway 16R/34L to be reconstructed. That plan called for the complete closure of the runway for 17 weeks, according to Curt Castagna, president of the Van Nuys Airport Association (VNAA).

“Based on the proposed impacts, we got involved and asked the airport authority if they would be willing to provide us the opportunity to work to find a better option,” Castagna said. “Over the past few months, the major VNY tenant stakeholders have worked with LAWA’s project team to determine rational and prudent alternatives that meet Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements for runway lifespan and funding, optimize airport safety and eliminate runway closures to the fullest extent possible.”

Further analysis of existing runway conditions supported a less-intensive combination of resurface work and reconditioning, resulting in a 10-day, 26-night timeframe for closure of Runway 16R/34L. Work is expected to begin next year.

The revised proposal calls for a three-phase combination of repaving and partial reconstruction to be performed over approximately three months, with the largest task being the reconstruction of a 4,400-foot section of pavement at the runway center. The usable length of 16R/34L would be reduced to no less than 5,000 feet for a little over two months while this work is completed, with a minimum of 5,209 feet available for departures.

The agreement also calls for additional repaving at the approach ends, and reconstruction of runway shoulders and in other isolated areas. The airport’s 4,000-foot Runway 16L/34R would remain open while crews worked on the larger runway.

The final proposal must be submitted to the FAA no later than Sept. 30, 2012, in order to be eligible for funding under the current budget. While some details still need to be ironed out between LAWA and the engineering companies involved, Castagna was confident that work would begin on Runway 16R/34L sometime in 2013 under the terms of the revised plan.

“We’re glad we were able to take a leadership role on behalf of our airport’s tenants and operators in working together with the airport authority and the City of Los Angeles,” he said. “Our goal was always to provide for the safest runway improvement, constructed in the shortest amount of time, minimizing the impacts on operations would be affected, while providing the maximum amount of runway life, funded through FAA grants.

“Under this plan, Van Nuys tenants will continue to enjoy safe and long-lasting operations for years to come.”