After more than a decade of studies, reports, hearings and legal action that could have delayed or stopped the project, the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) has the first of several runway improvement contracts. And the amounts bid are less than what designers projected.
By the summer, what could only be visualized on paper will start to take shape on the ground at the Airport Plaza end of Green Airport’s shorter runway. The work, involving the demolition of Hangar 1 and preparation of the runway safety area, will require closing the runway – Runway 16-34 – for the summer and into the fall. Work is being scheduled for the runway to re-open to accommodate the traditional influx of Thanksgiving traffic, the busiest time of travel at the airport. It will close again for completion of the work in time to re-open for the winter when that runway gets the most use because of wind direction.
“They’re coming in low, and that’s great,” Paul McDonough, PE and vice president of engineering, said of construction bids Friday. “It’s exciting to see things move into the three-dimensional work of putting people to work.”
Engineers estimated demolition of the hangar would cost $2.07 million. Of the six contractors who bid the job, Cardi Construction was the apparent low bidder at $878,878. There were five other bids, with the highest being $1.63 million.
McDonough said work hinges on when RIAC gets a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant, but that work should begin by early summer.
As for the runway safety area NAVAIDS, McDonough said RIAC received five bids with the lowest being that of J.H. Lynch and Sons for $2,619,360.20. The work requires preparing the area for the installation of an emergency material arresting system. Designed to slow an aircraft that overshoots the runway, EMAS consists of cement blocks that will crumble under the weight of an aircraft to slow it down.
McDonough said Lynch would install the EMAS that will be bought separately.
That project had been estimated at $3,053,770.
RIAC hasn’t been as fortunate with bids for the construction of a glycol recovery system to meet the requirements of its Department of Environmental Management (DEM) permit. That project to capture deicing fluid and prevent it from entering Buckeye Brook was estimated at $21 million. Lynch was the lowest bidder at $28 million.
RIAC has rejected all bids and has split the project into two phases in an effort to create a more competitive bidding environment by appealing to a broader group of contractors. RIAC expects the project can still be completed in time to meet the 2014 DEM deadline.