Airport runway project going smoothly

Now that asphalt has been removed, crews will be testing the soil cleared to make way for a rebuilt runway at Martha's Vineyard Airport. - Gabrielle Mannino

The Martha’s Vineyard Airport is working in collaboration with Tetra Tech, its environmental consultant, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to replace its primary runway.

Assistant airport manager Geoff Freeman told The Times runway 06/24, the airport’s 5,504-foot runway, was due for a repaving when it became noncompliant after over two decades of use and seasonal temperatures.

Airport runway replacement usually occurs every 20 years, but several factors, such as wear and tear, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding availability, and state testing have to be taken into account. The M.V. Airport runway was last replaced in 1991.

The project is being closely monitored by the airport, the DEP, and Tetra Tech for any possible contamination or environmental impact.

The airport received required approval from the DEP to remove the asphalt and began the project on Jan. 14, with an expected end date of mid-May, once warmer temperatures allow for the new asphalt to be put down.

The asphalt is being removed by Lawrence-Lynch Corp., and stored at one of its sites off Pennsylvania Avenue in Oak Bluffs. Lawrence-Lynch officials did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Freeman said truck traffic on Barnes Road will significantly decrease Wednesday because asphalt removal is complete. The new stone material that will be smoothed out for the runway is already onsite.

Other parts of the project include digging trenches alongside the runway to put in electrical conduit and placing new ground rods for runway lighting.

The airport received a $10 million grant issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation last year, which covers the majority of the $11.4 million total cost of the project.