Six years after the approval of one of the biggest and major undertakings of the Commonwealth Ports Authority, the completion date or the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport’s long-standing runway rehabilitation project is still undetermined.
The main runway rehabilitation was approved in 2009. The project consists of rehabilitating the main runway and narrowing its width from 200 feet to 150 feet based on Federal Aviation Administration requirements, relocation of runway lights, posting of signs and markings, and restoring Runway 6/24 back to a parallel taxiway.
The Saipan airport’s main runway, Runway 7/25, is over 25 years old.
Since it began renovation work on the runway, CPA has been pushing back its completion date due to various issues and concerns. CPA’s last target completion date of the project was set in December 2013 and the runway was supposed to be fully operational this fiscal year 2014.
Yesterday, CPA executive director MaryAnn Lizama did not respond when inquired on what’s the new target completion date for the runway project.
However, she assured that the project continues to move forward and the ports authority continues to fully monitor the project under the guidance of FAA, which fully funded the project under its Airport Improvement Program.
“The CPA continues to monitor the progress of the project with oversight by the granting agency, the Federal Aviation Administration,” Lizama said.
Lizama said the project contractor is GPPC Inc. and the project construction manager is Hofschneider Engineering.
According to the executive director, the latest supplemental amount approved for the runway project totaled $11,147,705 million and the overall cost to date is approximately $35,330,376 million.
Lizama admitted that “there are issues as to the project, which requires CPA’s attention and engagement with the contractor and the construction manager.”
“Hopefully these can be resolved and the project can proceed forward to completion as CPA will deal appropriately with all issues which arise during the construction period,” Lizama assured yesterday.
CPA earlier said that the rehabilitation of the surface of the runway will allow another 20 years to provide a safe landing zone for the CNMI.