Opening of Kendall – Tamiami Executive Airport’s south runway extension is now scheduled for early April, according to Chris McArthur, newly named airport manager. The anticipated 18-month project, originally scheduled to be completed by Oct. 6, 2010, will now take nearly two years for completion
“Non-conformance with the contract in two instances caused delays from the original opening by late 201l,” McArthur told an audience during a Miami-Dade Police Hammocks District Community Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting on Jan 25.
“Once certified for use, 90 percent of the traffic now using the north runway will go to the south airstrip,” he said, acknowledging increased student flights including “touch and go” practices have caused continuing noise objections from residents along SW 120th Street, east and west of SW 137th Avenue.
For the past 20 months, training flights have been diverted to the north strip while the south runway was lengthened from 5,000 to 6,000 feet under a $4.4 million contract awarded to H&R Paving Inc.”
“The contractor is requesting extension of time due to FAA changes in addition to negotiations to settle on contractor’s delays,” said Marc Henderson, Miami-Dade Aviation Department spokesperson. “Final approval by the FAA is still required.”
Henderson said the “state-of-the-art” runway remains “on budget” and is open for visual landings with instrumentation that was checked by the FAA on Jan, 30.
“After the flight check, the runway will have full instrumentation capabilities, except for the Glide Slope. All the lighting system including taxiways is new and burning brighter, for a safe flight,” he added.
Originally planned in 2006, the project was delayed initially by reduced funding and FAA approval requirements including a $250,000 environmental study. A planned extension of 2,350 feet then was shortened to 1,000 feet.
Runway expansion was originally sought by aviation-related business operators so that private aircraft could carry higher fuel loads needed for longer distance flights than possible with the shorter runway length, McArthur explained.
Curtailment of activity due to the south runway project had been anticipated by airport FBOs (fixed base operators), he added, noting completion of the expansion project “has been my top priority since my appointment here.
“Getting this done has taken more than 90 percent of my time after succeeding Mike Handrahan last year,” added the 30- year career aviation manager who had managed Opa-locka Airport for l6 years.
Noting that all Miami-Dade airports operate on revenue vs. expense balance sheets without tax support, he said. The average $280 million revenues generated by the Kendell-Tamiami Airport in the past should continue and grow with the newly extended south runway. Approximately 90 percent of the expansion cost was paid from federal and state funding, he noted.
Related construction work also included westward extension of a 50-foot taxiway, new airfield drainage, relocation of navigational equipment and replacement of the Visual Approach Slope Indicator (VASI) with a Precision Approach Path Indicators, as well as new runway and taxiway pavement markings, new medium-intensity taxiway lighting and high-intensity edge runway illumination.