Lake Havasu City Municipal Airport taxiways need ‘significant attention’

May 8, 2019

It’s been several years since the taxiways at the Lake Havasu City Municipal Airport received some TLC, but thanks to some considerable federal and state grant money, that will change soon.

According to a previous News Herald story, the taxiways were built in 1991 and haven’t been paved since that time.

Havasu Public Works Manager Mark Clark said in January that reconstruction would offer a safe and functional runway and taxiway system at the airport for the next 20 to 25 years, with routine maintenance.

“The taxiways need significant attention,” Clark said. “The City is expected to do routine, standard maintenance but relies on grants to fund significant infrastructure investments at the Airport through FAA and ADOT grants.”

Some of the other work will include removing and replacing dirt and cement on North Field.

According to Clark, this needs to be done because the old soil cement between the taxiway and parking areas and the dirt between the runway and taxiways creates the opportunity for blowing dust, rock and debris, especially when helicopters are in the area.

“Pilots don’t like their aircraft being damaged and it can be dangerous, not just costly,” Clark said. “We don’t have a terrible problem now, but this project would address some of those issues. We have to do more sweeping now to prevent those concerns.”

For the next two fiscal years, 2019-20 and 2020-21, a total of $6.3 million will be spent for design, construction and management.

Of that total, 4.47% will come from the city’s airport fund, accounting for a total of $281,834, a match to grant money from the Arizona Department of Transportation. The Federal Aviation Administration’s grant money will total 91.06%, a total of $5.74 million.

The city hopes that work will begin soon, but Clark said “We are at the mercy of the federal grant process and funding is typically authorized the years indicated but can be late in the federal fund year which means design and construction can be as much as a year later, again, depending on the funding and approval cycle.”

Clark said the grant money will mean the city can continue the critical maintenance at the airport through the federal grant process.

“Overall, this 5-year CIP effort, is the most significant investment in the airport since its original construction in 1991,” Clark said.

Many Havasu residents want to see commercial air service return to the airport, which is located on the north side of the city, off State Route 95.

“Air service from Havasu is the No. 1 (priority) people here talk about,” said Mayor Cal Sheehy. “Commercial flights would generate more tourism-based business and it would also open up more opportunities for economic development.”

While the airport isn’t currently used for commercial flights, it is used by companies such as FedEx and UPS. Military craft use it, as well as air ambulances and new pilots in training.

According to a previous Today’s News Herald story, the airport logs about 50,000 takeoffs and landings, annually. It houses 142 aircraft on its 646-acre facility.

Many flight-training students from around the world routinely use the airport, and the facility also attracts corporate aircraft flying into and out of Southern California.

Reporter Scott Shindledecker can be reached at 928-453-4237, ext. 252, or sshindledecker@havasunews.com