SANTA MONICA—Parts of the runway at Santa Monica Airport will be eliminated throughout the summer from June 16 until September 6. During construction, SMO will be periodically closed to aircraft while construction workers get rid of the pavements from both areas of the runway.
In 2017, the runway was condensed to 3,500 feet. The city of Santa Monica and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were able to come to a consensus for the airport to close by 2028.
The consensus reconciled years of legal action legal action amongst Santa Monica and the FAA over the airport being closed and transformed into a park. The FAA and Santa Monica Airport Association believed the airport issues economic benefits and would distribute as a channel for materials in case of an emergency while, the FAA and Santa Monica felt the airport is too loud and causes pollution in neighborhoods surrounding the area.
“The city originally planned to use airport revenue to tear up the pavement. Upon learning that the FAA won’t permit that, the council elected to rebid the project and will need to use city tax dollars instead,” said Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Communications Coordinator Amelia Walsh, in October 2018.
Though the FAA has agreed to the removal of the pavement, the association and other local pilots are willing to continue to fight for the runway. SMAA has proceeded to voice opposing the project at upcoming city council meetings.
The city of Santa Monica contractor, Sully-Miller Construction is set to perform the job in five phases throughout the summer. The additional pavement will be restored with dirt and mulch.
The 227-acre property currently occupied by the Santa Monica Airport has been under city ownership since 1926 when Santa Monica purchased the property using park bond funds. In 2014, voters passed Measure LC which mandates that if the airport were to close the only permitted uses would be parks, open space, recreation, education/culture without a vote of the people.
The agreement signals the next phase in the evolution of the land from an airport into a park. For more information, visit http://www.smgov.net/departments/airport or click here to read the Runway Shortening Staff Report 8A.