Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the Reuse of Excess Airfield Pavement Project

Dear Community Member: 

The City of Santa Monica has received a number of inquiries from members of the public relating to the City’s project to remove areas of the runway and taxiways that are no longer needed for aviation purposes since the runway shortening project was substantially completed in December 2017.In response to these inquiries staff has developed the following FAQs.

What authority does the City of Santa Monica have to remove portions of the Santa Monica Airport (SMO) runway?

The City of Santa Monica is the owner and operator of the Santa Monica Airport.  In February 2017 the City of Santa Monica and the Federal Aviation Administration entered into a settlement agreement/consent decree that among other things provided the City the right to shorten the Airport’s runway from approximately 5,000 feet to 3,500 feet.  The City shortened the runway (via markings and lighting modifications) in December 2017.  The current project’s objective is to remove and pulverize excess pavement from areas of the runway and taxiways that are no longer needed for aviation purposes as a result of the runway shortening and to hydroseed certain parts of those areas.   

What led to the decision to remove the excess pavement? 

On May 24, 2017, after a community input process, staff presented to the City Council two options for the runway-shortening project, a center-aligned option and an easterly-aligned option.  Council selected a center-aligned runway option and directed staff to return to Council as soon as possible with design options for removing the excess pavement no longer needed for aviation purposes as a result of the runway shortening.

On September 26, 2017, staff returned to City Council with three options for removing the excess pavement.  Option 1, the option ultimately selected, proposed to remove all unneeded pavement outside the Runway Safety Area (RSA) and hydro-seed and pulverize in place and stabilize the pavement within the RSA.  Staff recommended two other options that were not selected.  Option 2 proposed to remove all unneeded pavement outside of the RSA and install artificial turf and pulverize in place and stabilize the pavement within the RSA.  The last option, Option 3, proposed to pulverize in-place and stabilize all unneeded pavement outside and within the RSA.

In December 2017, the initial runway-shortening project was substantially completed.  This project consistent mainly of realigning the runway, marking new taxiways, installing new lighting and navigational aids, and restriping.

On March 26, 2019, City Council awarded a construction contract to Sully-Miller Contracting Company for the SMO Reuse of Excess Airfield Pavement Project.  The purpose of this project is to follow the direction of City Council to remove the unneeded pavement outside the Runway Safety Area (RSA) and hydro-seed and pulverize in place and stabilize the unneeded pavement within the RSA.

What is the purpose of the SMO Reuse of Excess Airfield Pavement Project?

The settlement agreement/consent decree affords the City the authority to shorten the runway in accordance with FAA design standards.  The runway shortening project (in 2017) resulted in excess pavement that is no longer needed for aircraft operations.  This project removes this excess pavement in accordance with FAA design standards in compliance with the terms of the settlement agreement/consent decree.   

What's the construction schedule for the project*?

  • Phase 1: Construction will take place from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily, Sunday through Friday from June 16 through July 3, 2019 (excludes Thursday, July 4 holiday). 
  • Phase 2: Construction is anticipated to take place 24-hours per day from 12 a.m., Monday, July 8 through 11:59 p.m., Thursday, July 11, 2019 (four consecutive days).  
  • Phase 3: Construction will take place from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily, Sunday through Friday from July 14 through August 2, 2019.
  • Phase 4: Construction is anticipated to take place 24-hours per day from 12 a.m., Monday, August 5 through 11:59 p.m., Thursday, August 8, 2019 (four consecutive days).
  • Phase 5: Construction will take place from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily, Sunday through Friday from August 11 through September 6, 2019 (excludes Monday, September 2 Labor Day holiday).

*Construction hours are subject to change.

Will hydroseed attract birds and other wildlife that could disturb airport operations?

Hydroseeding consists of plant seeds, finely ground water-soluble fertilizer, and a stabilization mixture that will be sprayed over the areas at the ends of the runways to ensure that the seeds stick to the surface. Mulch will also be installed to help the seeds sprout.

The City requested expert advice from AECOM (design consultant for the project) about the type of seed mix to use, seeking a mix that is compatible with use near aircraft movement areas, that would not attract wildlife and that has been used elsewhere in the region.  AECOM’s biologist recommended use of the same seed mix that has been used successfully at Los Angeles International Airport.  

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For additional information, read staff reports on this project (click for link to staff report):

March 26, 2019 City Council Staff Report

September 26, 2017 City Council Staff Report

The City’s Civil Engineering and Airport staff are available to discuss any questions or concerns you have about the project. Contact the Civil Engineering Division at sm.engineering@smgov.net for construction-related questions or comments. For all other inquiries, contact the Airport at airport@smgov.net.

Regards,

Stelios Makrides

Airport Director