Westchester County Airport is expected to be completely closed to fixed-wing air traffic from April 27 through May 5 as part of a plan to expedite the repaving of Runway 16/34, the main runway that is 6,549 feet long and 150 feet wide.
The number of flights has dropped dramatically because of the COVID-19 pandemic and it was decided to take advantage of the slowdown to shrink the timetable for the long-planned runway work.
It originally had been planned to be accomplished during an extended period of overnight construction. Runway 16/34 will remain closed through May 21. It is expected that helicopter operations could still take place using grass areas or ramp areas.
After May 5, the airport’s shorter runway, Runway 11/29, which measures 4,451 feet long and 150 feet wide, but is not usable for its full length, is expected to be reopened. Runways 11/29 and 16/34 intersect and the shorter runway cannot be used while work is underway at the intersection. The shorter runway is primarily used by light general aviation aircraft while airliners and corporate jets require the longer runway.
Jorge Roberts, the CEO of AvPORTS, which operates the airport for the county, said, “Given the reduced flight service to Westchester County Airport at this time, we were able to expedite this capital improvement while effectively utilizing our staff who are cross-trained in airport flow and maintenance to supervise this project.
“AvPORTS realized that the low traffic volume was an opportunity to be productive in other ways. While our other airports are continuing and launching smaller improvement projects and systems such as cleaning protocols, Westchester Airport was able to do such a large project safely because air traffic can be redirected to other area airports as well as huge cooperation from the county.”
In addition to pavement work, touchdown zone and in-pavement lights along the runway’s centerline are scheduled to be installed.
After the new pavement has aged for at least 30 days, it will have grooves cut in it. The grooves will create pathways for rain to run off the surface and prevent the accumulation of standing water during heavy rains, which can be a hazard for aircraft. It is expected that the grooving will be done overnight after the runway has been reopened for use.