Construction of the main runway at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport is set to resume soon following the project's approval by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Commonwealth Ports Authority executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero confirmed this in a statement Friday indicating that FAA, through its airport improvement project program, also allocated additional funding of $11 million to do all the necessary repairs.
The ports authority temporarily stopped the construction at the main airport runway pending approval of FAA. This after CPA uncovered problems during the construction period.
“CPA recently received approval from FAA for additional funding to correct the deep cracks in the main runway. The original design for the project addressed cracks that were only 3/4” deep requiring milling of 3/4” and paving 2” overlay. However, during construction, it was found that the cracks had gone further than the originally designed discovery,” explained Deleon Guerrero, adding that CPA, in coordination with the construction manager and contractor, proposed to FAA supplemental crack repairs.
He said the new design was forwarded to the federal agency along with CPA's request of $11 million in additional funds for the needed repairs.
With the funding approval, the executive director said crack repairs will now require 2” milling and 4” paving which will also extend the life expectancy of the airport. CPA anticipates resuming construction work by Aug. 15 with a completion date of May 2013. Guam Pacific Power Corporation Inc. is the project contractor.
Prior to the approval of the new supplemental funding, FAA has been spending approximately $21 million in the rehabilitation of Runway 7/25. Factoring in the $11 million recently approved for the new repairs, total cost of the project is at $32 million-of which $18.8 million was result of several change orders and supplemental agreements for the project.
Based on the agency's records, construction work was temporarily hold off in March 2012 following discovery of some problems during the rehabilitation period that warrants a new design. It was in 2009 when the Saipan runway project was initiated and it include among others, milling of existing runway, taxiway, blast pad and shoulder pavements, asphalt concrete overlay and other works.
From the original target completion of October 2011, the ports authority had revised the schedule to February 2012 until it was pushed back to June 2012 deadline and the new target is now May 2013.