Updated May 15
After 37 days of paving, and 22,657 tons of asphalt later, the Martha’s Vineyard Airport’s primary runway, runway 06-24, is back in business and better than ever after an approximately $10 million renovation.
The renovation was paid for almost entirely by FAA and MassDOT grants.
The runway was closed from Jan. 14 until Monday, when project managers removed the blinking X lights from either end and cleared the landing surface for air traffic.
After clearing the runway and opening up the control tower to receive landing requests, a Cape Air Cessna landed just minutes later. The Cessna was the first plane to land on the runway in four months.
Assistant airport manager Geoff Freeman said finishing the runway project is a “complete relief,” and couldn’t have been done without the hard work and collaboration of a great team.
“We started building during a difficult time period, but everyone worked amazingly well together, and we managed to get everything done ahead of schedule,” Freeman said.
Freeman thanked the superintendent for the Lawrence Lynch Corp., John Moniz, and the senior construction inspector for McFarland Johnson, Kevin McMahon, for their determination during the process.
The biggest shout-out he gave was to the community for putting up with the construction trucks and other inconveniences the project created.
“We want to thank the Island community for their understanding and patience, and we want them to know that this isn’t a common thing,” Freeman said.
Although the runway is open again, Freeman said that starting at the end of June, night crews will be back out on the runway, painting lines and grooving the asphalt to facilitate better drainage.
McMahon said the fact that the project timed out so perfectly is a testament to everyone at the airport. “Everyone involved worked long hours, they worked weekends, just to get this thing done,” McMahon said.
Moniz chimed in, saying, “I’ll sleep a little better now, having this project wrapped up.”
Sometimes, Moniz said, people working on large projects like this will “butt heads” because of differing ideas, but not in this case. “It was a huge collaborative effort, and everyone had different directions they wanted to go, but it wasn’t a struggle because everyone had the same goals,” Moniz said.
Updated to change total cost of runway project and include the fact that the project was paid for largely by FAA and MassDOT grants. -Ed.