REDMOND, OR -- It’s more than a year away, but Redmond officials are already making plans for a three-week shutdown of Roberts Field. City Manager Keith Witcosky tells KBND News it’s the type of project that only happens once every 50 years, but repaving the main runway is necessary.
Witcosky says specific dates of the closure are still being decided.
"We are getting out right now, and beginning to talk to key stakeholders," Witcosky says. "Among the most important are the air carriers, we don’t want to lose the six direct flights that we have right now. Tourism is very important; we want to make sure that when we look at the dates for this project, we don’t unintentionally interrupt an event that’s dependent on the airport. Business and industry is important too."
Part of the discussion will center around alternate transportation options to get travelers in and out of the region. City officials are looking at the potential need for more rental cars at the airport or use of the Breeze, a bus system.
"We’re going to need help from our stakeholders and our other key partners to help us think about how we get people in and out of this region during that time period, so we don’t affect the economy," Witcosky says.
The closure is expected to happen in late spring 2016.
"It’s driven by weather," Witcosky says. "When you’re pouring asphalt, which needs temperatures 45 or warmer to be able to cure, we’ve got to pick a window of time that works for pouring of the asphalt and actually doing the project."
Redmond's two runways intersect, which means repaving the main runway requires the shutdown of the secondary runway.
"We can do all sorts of paving, and use 1028, which is the secondary runway, but when we get to that cross-section we’re gonna have to tear up the cross-section and repave the entire thing," Witcosky says. "We’re working 24 hours a day, but you can’t pour asphalt 24 hours a day. And, it’s that X-shaped cross-section that has to be torn up and rebuilt within a two- to three-week time period."
Ninety-five percent of the $20 million paving project is funded by federal dollars. Phase one was completed in November.