By Megan Kehoe

The Bulletin

For airplane noise complaints:

Call 541-504-3499

The city of Redmond will likely see and hear more air traffic overhead starting Aug. 18 as the Redmond Airport undergoes phase one of a runway reconstruction project set to last 90 days.

“Like any asphalt pavement, once it hits a certain age, the quality drops off,” Redmond Municipal Airport Director Jeffrey Tripp said. “Routine methods like overlays will no longer be useful. It requires more heavy construction.”

The pavement reconstruction will take place in two phases. The majority of the $20 million project is being funded through the Federal Aviation Administration airport improvement fund. The city has also applied for a state lottery-funded ConnectOregon V transportation infrastructure grant to help pay for the project.

The first phase will see full-depth pavement reconstruction of a 1,290-foot stretch of the main runway, Runway 4-22. Additionally, the first phase will include runway grooving, drainage improvements and the addition of new high-intensity runway lights. Runway signs and pavement markings also will be improved.

During this phase, planes will be restricted to the airport’s other runway, 10-28.

Typically, asphalt lasts 20 to 30 years, said Tripp. The last time the Redmond Airport had pavement reconstruction was in 1993.

According to The Bulletin archives, a 2010 pavement study listed the runway in “fair to poor condition,” saying it could end up in “very poor” condition by 2016 without major work.

While the current state of the pavement doesn’t pose hazards to passengers flying in and out of Roberts Field, said Tripp, it was determined the pavement needed updating.

“It’s not an emergency fix,” said Nicole Jurgensen, airport security coordinator. “It’s scheduled maintenance. And the good news is that once it’s done, we won’t have to do it for another 20 to 30 years.”

The construction contract for the first phase was awarded to High Desert Aggregate and Paving through a competitive bid process.

The second phase of the project is scheduled to be worked on in the summer and fall of 2015 and will include reconstruction of the remaining 5,750 feet of Runway 4-22. This project will also include construction of runway grooving and runway drainage improvements.

And at some point during the second phase, the runway will close for several days when construction begins on the area where airport runways 4-22 and 10-28 intersect. It is not known how long the airport will close, as the second phase of construction is still in the design stage.

“My biggest concern with this project is having to shut down the airport for a week next year,” said Redmond Mayor George Endicott.

Endicott said the closure will cause an estimated $35,000 loss in revenue.

“But, you know, if you balance that against the project cost, it’s not that big of a deal in terms of dollars lost versus the increase in property value,” Endicott said.

While airport officials don’t anticipate the construction to cause delays for passengers, it may affect the number of planes airlines can have at the airport.

The project also may affect residents in Redmond. Because of Runway 10-28’s trajectory, planes will fly over the city for the 90 days of the first phase of construction.

“We’re hoping that it won’t be too bad,” Jurgensen said. “Somebody really sensitive to noise level might notice it a little more.”

The airport currently averages about 118 planes taking off or landing daily, Tripp said. There is a hotline that residents can call to complain about noise levels.

Endicott said he doesn’t really think sound levels over the city will be an issue. Currently, he said, he’s only heard the occasional complaint about air traffic over the city.

“I don’t think the noise will be that bad,” Endicott said. “We may get a complaint or two, but I’m not really worried about it. The runway has to be rebuilt. That’s what’s important.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0354,