SANTA MONICA—All Santa Monica Airport (SMO) air traffic has officially stopped until Saturday, December 23 as construction to shorten the runway begins.
According to a press release from the city of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Airport has shut down for 10 days. Construction crews who were previously working on the airport from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. are now working all day to complete the project by the scheduled completion date of December 23. AECOM, an engineering and construction firm with experience in aviation projects, is overseeing the operations. A study will be carried out by researchers from Tufts University to monitor air quality during and shortly after the closure as well.
Before the construction began, the city of Santa Monica reached out to the surrounding neighborhoods and local members of the aviation community to ensure that all aircrafts that could not operate on a runway of 3,500 feet were removed. Once construction is complete, such airplanes will no longer be able to take off or land at the airport.
“This is a historic day for the residents of Santa Monica and demonstrates the city’s commitment to protecting the health and wellbeing of residents and our neighbors. The shortened runway will reduce jet operations over the next ten years while also enhancing the safety areas on either end of the runway,” said Mayor Ted Winterer.
The work to shorten the runway comes following a consent decree made between the Santa Monica Airport and the FAA. The decree specified that both ends of the runway would be shaved down to decrease the total length from 5,000 feet to only 3,500 feet. This has been done to alleviate concerns from residents living close to the airport, who have complained about the noise, safety issues and air pollution.
The airport recently began supporting firefighting efforts in the area and, while all air traffic will cease, the FAA air traffic control tower will remain in operation. The airport will be re-opened once construction is complete. Per the consent decree, the Santa Monica Airport will officially shut down for good in 2028.