The statewide health order due to the coronavirus epidemic deemed airports to be essential infrastructure which must continue operation during the state of emergency. The Riverside County Board of Supervisors responded with a change order to the French Valley Airport runway and taxiway rehabilitation contract which will reduce the runway closure from 21 to seven days.
The supervisors’ 5-0 vote Tuesday, April 21, approved a change order to the contract with All-American Asphalt which will add $421,890 to the cost of the contract and increase the total amount to $2,467,937. The supervisors also issued a finding that the additional work is integral to the original project’s purpose and that reducing the closure period increases the availability of the transportation infrastructure during the state of emergency.
The French Valley runway and taxiway work will reconstruct Runway 18-36, Taxiway A and the connector taxiway. Airport runways are numbered based on the direction of approach, so 18 equates to a due south approach while 36 would be a due north approach. The scope of work includes demolition and removal of existing asphalt pavement, surface treatments, crack repair, slurry seal, construction of paving sections and pavement markings. In May 2019, the county supervisors approved the plans and specifications for the construction, authorized the clerk of the board of supervisors to advertise the project for bids and set a June 20, 2019, deadline for the receipt of bids. Although the contract was awarded in summer 2019, the construction was anticipated for spring 2020. Under the bid the runway was to have been closed for 21 days.
The project’s original cost was $2,046,047. The Federal Aviation Administration has an Airport Improvement Program which provides grants covering up to 90% of a project’s total cost, and the FAA approved funding of 90% of the runway and taxiway rehabilitation cost. The county’s Aviation Budget Fund was used for the remaining 10% of the expenses.
Although the additional work will initially be funded by the Aviation Budget, the county will pursue FAA reimbursement for the work performed under the change order. The FAA is expected to contribute $379,701 of the change order amount while the county’s additional cost would be $42,189.
All-American Construction will have 30 calendar days to mobilize. The airport will be shut down for no more than seven days for the rehabilitation work on the runway. After the completion of the runway work, the fog seal work on Taxiway A will be performed at night. The airport will reopen during the day following that work before being shut down at night to continue that rehabilitation phase, and the fog seal will take no more than three days. All work on the project will be completed within 21 days.
In addition to keeping the airport open the accelerated schedule will reduce the length of time staff will be on-site and thus reduce the quantity of gatherings.
Joe Naiman can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.