Work is expected to begin this fall on a long-awaited runway extension project at Santa Maria Public Airport.
A unanimous Santa Maria Public Airport District Board of Directors approved a contract last week with Granite Construction for the first phase of a runway and taxiway extension development.
Funded by a Federal Aviation Administration grant, the $3.5 million project includes infrastructure improvements such as electrical conduit and a taxiway extension. The bid, one of three, was more than $1.2 million under the engineer’s estimate of $4.8 million. The contract was awarded Thursday.
Construction is anticipated to begin in October, according to Chris Hastert, airport general manager, and the project will be built in two phases across two federal budget years.
Ninety-five percent of the project’s cost will be covered by an FAA Airport Improvement Plan grant.
Phase two — runway paving and relocation of navigational aids for the Instrument Landing System — is expected to cost about $8 million. It also will be funded mostly by the FAA.
Airport officials have promoted a longer runway as a draw for larger commercial and private planes, and longer corporate jet flights such as nonstops to Japan or Europe.
The runway now is 6,300-feet long. The extension is intended to add 1,700 feet.