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Shortening of Santa Monica Airport Runway to Start Monday


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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

October 19, 2017 -- Readjusting after an 11th-hour court order abruptly halted its plans, the City of Santa Monica said work to shorten the runway at Santa Monica Airport will now begin Monday instead of its prior start date of Wednesday.

Because of the 10-day delay caused by a temporary restraining order, the project’s finish date is now uncertain, Airport Director Stelios Makrides announced Wednesday ("Santa Monica Airport Cleared for Runway Reduction," October 18, 20017).

“While the City and its contractor, AECOM, will endeavor to complete the project by the end of this year, the delay created by the TRO may affect the overall project schedule and completion date,” he said.

The project entails drastically reducing the length of SMO’s sole runway-- from the current 4,973 feet to 3,500 feet in length -- as a way for the City to ward off charter-jet traffic, which has been soaring ("Santa Monica Airport Runway Project Set to Begin," September 25, 2017).

It is an interim measure allowed through the consent decree the City Council entered into with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in January.

The overall goal is to close the airport by the end of 2028 ("City, FAA Agree to Close Santa Monica Airport in 2028," January 28, 2017).

The council has said it ultimately wants to transform the 227-acre airport into a “Great Park” for the Westside.

The runway shortening will still be broken into two stages.

The first begins Monday and is expected to end next January, with the work proceeding nightly from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., Monday through Friday. Airport operations are closed during those hours.

In the second stage, work is expected to start in January and be done both day and night.

SMO will be closed around the clock to aircraft operations at that point for ten consecutive days.

Makrides said the length of the runway will not be affected until completion of the second phase.

The last-minute TRO was issued by a U.S. District Court judge on October 8 on behalf of two litigants from the local aviation community stopped the runway project a day before its original start date ("Temporary Restraining Order Halts Start of Runway Reduction at Santa Monica Airport," October 10, 2017).

When the judge lifted the TRO, the City said work would start Wednesday.


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