SANTA ROSA -- Construction to bring the runways at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport up to new federal standards is currently under way, creating around 150 construction jobs and the long-term potential to attract new commercial carriers and destinations.
Crews began work on the four-phase, $53.8 million project in September, with completion expected in late 2014.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in June approved a $22.7 million contract with Berkeley-based O.C. Jones & Sons for the first two phases of the project, which includes electrical systems and the construction of a new taxiway.
Three local companies were among the 13 subcontractors selected for the first two phases of the project: Cotati’s Neary Landscape, Healdsburg’s Terracon Pipeline and Santa Rosa’s Devincenzi Concrete Construction.
The airport’s two runways will be extended in the final two phases and will also be separated from the current configuration that intersects in a “V.” The main runway will be extended by 885 feet to a new length of 6,000 feet. The second will be extended 200 feet, to 5,200 feet.
That extension and reconfiguration is afforded largely by federal grants. While intended to comply with new regulatory standards that go into effect in 2015, airport officials have noted that the longer runways could allow greater flexibility in aircraft choices.
The airport currently has one commercial carrier -- Horizon Airlines, a regional carrier subsidiary of Alaska Air Group. Commercial service returned to the airport in 2007, after United Airlines subsidiary United Express discontinued 15 years of service in 2001.