Concerns arise over paving to Hollister airport runway

Planes taxi down the runway at the Hollister Municipal Airport in 2010.

A project to repair the main runway at the Hollister Municipal Airport could be delayed by “months” because the paving work may not have been compact enough, an airport commissioner told the Free Lance.  
Congressman Sam Farr’s office in October announced a grant award for more than $3 million going toward runway repairs at the Hollister airport, while another $3 million in federal funding could be headed Hollister’s way next year for work on the other runway.
The grant is from the Federal Aviation Administration for repairs to the 1.2-mile runway at the airport. In August, council members weighed bids for the project slated to cost about $3.2 million, when they broached how the FAA grant would include a 10 percent match from the city.
Airport Commissioner Gordon Machado confirmed that Airport Director Mike Chambless reported at this week’s commission meeting there were issues with lacking compaction in the paving work that might cause a delay in the project if the runway must be repaved. The FAA also could revoke a portion of the grant, he said.
If the runway has to be repaved, it could cause further operational disruptions at the airport as well.
“If you don’t have a runway, you don’t have an airport,” Machado said.
Mayor Ignacio Velazquez received a status update Friday and also said there were questions about paving to parts of the runway. He said the contractor had a different perspective about the FAA’s belief on lacking compaction.
“Either way, it has to meet the FAA standards,” Velazquez said.
Salinas-based Don Chapin Co. is the contractor. A Don Chapin Co. representative could not be reached immediately to comment. Chambless also could not be reached immediately.
Look back for more on this story.

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