Council Is Asked To OK Runway 30/12 Rehab Plans, Including Diverting Large Jets Onto Runway 25R/7L During Parts of Ten to Twelve Month Construction; Airport Says It's Working to Minimize Diversions
(September 20, 2003) -- At the September 23 City Council meeting, city management is asking Councilmembers to approve plans and specifications, and simultaneously award a contract, to resurface LB Airport's main runway 30/12. The project is accompanied by a city management plan to divert (and in some cases reduce) main Runway traffic -- including large jet aircraft -- onto runway 25R/7L for parts of the ten to twelve month construction period. Smaller aircraft will be diverted onto 25L/7R.
LB Airport says it's working to minimize the diverisons.
Runway 25R/7L is nearly three quarters of a mile shorter than LB Airport's main diagonal runway and runs east-west aligned slightly north of Monlaco Rd. in ELB (b/w Wardlow Rd. and Conant St., 5th Council district) and 36th St. west of Cherry Ave. (7th Council district). 7L is the same runway used in reverse direction during reversed wind conditions.
(25L/7R is even shorter, aligned roughly between Mezzanine Ave. & Spring St. on the east, going over the 405 freeway on the west.)
LBReport.com has learned that diversions onto 25R/7L may not be limited to the seven to eight weekend periods in summer 2004, previously announced by LB Airport and first reported by LBReport.com. With much of the work scheduled to occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m, corporate jets and late arriving commercial carriers may also be diverted onto 25R/7L during some late night and overnight periods for ten to twelve months, although LB Airport says it is taking steps to try to avoid this.
LB Airport spokeswoman Sharon Diggs-Jackson told LBReport.com that the Airport and its carriers are working cooperatively to coordinate and try to avoid late arrivals on 25R/7L when it is known runway 30/12 will be closed for construction on a particular night(s) between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
A memo to Councilmembers from Dep. City Mgr. and Acting Public Works Dir. Christine Shippey, approved by City Mgr. Jerry Miller and accompanying management's request for voted Council approval, states in part:
"All of the airlines have agreed to the specific dates for the required weekend closures of the main runway and have modified their flight schedules to accommodate this need." It adds, "In order to meet this schedule, the project needs to be awarded on September 23, 2003."
However, management's memo does not mention mimimizing use of 25R/7L at any other times during the ten to twelve month construction period. There are no scheduled large jet aircraft late night or overnight flights, but some do occur (arrivals usually ascribed to weather or mechanical problems) along with some corporate and charter jet usage.
If these coincided with main runway 30/12 late night or overnight closures, they would end up on 25R/7L during the ten to twelve month construction period.
LB's main runway 30/12 is 10,000 feet long. Runway 25R/7L is 6,192 feet...or 3,808 feet shorter -- 0.72 miles or slightly less than three quarters of a mile shorter -- than main runway 30/12. By our estimate [roughly and unofficially reckoned using a "Thomas" guide], Clark Ave., at which homes begin in a large tract stretching eastward, is just over half a mile from the eastern (approach) end of 25R/7L. At the west end, homes begin just west of Cherry Ave...less than a quarter of a mile from the end of 25R/7L.
In recent weeks, residents got an up close and personal preview of what diversions to 25R/7L are like after potholes popped up in main runway 30/12 (one of the reasons for its rehab). When LB Airport closed 30/12 for emergency repairs, that caused the FAA to divert flights onto 25R/7L, which at roughly 60% the length of the main runway results in large aircraft skimming rooftops at even lower levels for many residents than "normal" approaches and takeoffs on main runway 30/12.
In a memorandum to Councilmembers, city staff says:
Since the construction of the improvements to Runway 12-30 will require its closure, various construction phasing plans and methods were analyzed to determine the optimum construction phasing. Factors examined for each phasing plan included safety, cost, availability of materials, quality of the completed project, minimizing the disruption to normal operations, and weather. The plan determined to best address these factors is one that will combine night work with some select weekend work. While much of the work will be accomplished at night, with the runway being opened to traffic each morning, seven weekends (plus an eighth contingency weekend to be used only if weather or national
emergency prohibits construction on one of the seven weekends) have been provided in the
plans and specifications for construction on the runway. These weekends are in July,
August and September of 2004. During these weekends, the runway will be closed from
11:OO p.m. Friday night through 7:OO a.m. Sunday morning. During these hours, air traffic
that would normally land on Runway 12-30 will be diverted to Runways 7L-25R and 7R-25L...
City Council adoption of the plans and specifications and award of the contracts are being
recommended concurrently to expedite the project implementation. The project was
advertised for bid on July 18, 2003, and bids were opened on September 3, 2003...
Construction is anticipated to begin in October 2003, and is estimated to be completed in
approximately 279 working days. All of the airlines have agreed to the specific dates for the
required weekend closures of the main runway and have modified their flight schedules to
accommodate this need. In order to meet this schedule, the project needs to be awarded
on September 23, 2003.
Information posted on LB Airport's web site (www.lgb.org) says:
...Construction will last 10 - 12 months with much of the work occurring at night, between the hours of 11:00pm and 6:00am. However, to complete paving of the runway, a series of 7 Saturday Runway 30 closures are planned. The closures will be from 10:00pm Friday night to 7:00am Sunday morning. The tentative weekend closures will occur on:
July 9 - 11, 2004
July 16 - 18, 2004
July 23 - 25, 2004
July 30 - August 1, 2004
August 6 - 8, 2004
September 10 - 12, 2004
September 17 - 19, 2004
During the weekend closures, air carriers will be landing and taking off on Runway 25R or 7L. Air cargo carriers do not normally have flights scheduled on Saturday. American, America West, Horizon and JetBlue have indicated that they will reduce flights operating on those Saturdays, and operate their remaining flights at reduced weights.
Construction is expected to begin in early November 2003
LB city staff has scheduled a noise management workshop (for info via LB Airport, click
here) to discuss the runway 30/12 construction project and noise issues in detail at the Petroleum Club on Sept. 25 (7:00-8:30 p.m.)...two days after the currently scheduled Council vote.
In addition to the seven to eight anticipated weekend closures in 2004, and possible late night/overnight diversions if they can't be avoided, the Airport has previously advised (and LBReport.com has reported) that between now and summer 2004, there may be occasional closures of 30/12 and resulting use of 25R/7L when Airport officials must check out reports of unusual occurrences (potholes and the like) on the aging main runway.
As also previously reported by LBReport.com, in May 2002 the Council voted 9-0 (Yes: Lowenthal, Baker, Colonna, Carroll, Kell, Richardson, Grabinski, Webb, Shultz) to get a report discussing the Airport's impacts on residential homeowners. Over a year later, the report has not been presented.