MOJAVE — The Mojave Air and Space Port has been awarded an $8 million Federal Aviation Administration grant to reconstruct the deteriorated Taxiway C.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, whose 23rd District includes Mojave, announced the Airport Improvement Program grant Thursday.
The largest infrastructure undertaking at the airport possibly ever and certainly in memory, the project will reconstruct Taxiway C, which runs parallel to the airport’s secondary runway.
“It’s essentially a brand new taxiway,” General Manager Karina Drees said in earlier discussions of the project.
The 7,200-foot asphalt taxiway has seriously deteriorated and portions will be replaced entirely while others may be repaired.
“From Stratolaunch to Virgin Orbit, Mojave Air and Space Port is leading the way in civilian aeronautics and commercial spaceflight,” McCarthy said. “But in order to continue to take the next steps towards even greater innovation in the industry, it is vital that Mojave Air and Space Port’s infrastructure is revitalized. This AIP grant will help make much needed repairs to existing infrastructure issues — like pavement cracks — to enhance airport safety.”
“The Mojave Air and Space Port is grateful for Congressman McCarthy’s continued support of our facilities and customer operations,” Drees said Thursday. “Our relationship with the congressman and his staff is essential for maintaining California’s leadership in aviation and aerospace.”
According to McCarthy’s announcement, the grant will also cover an analysis of the airfield electrical systems.
Much of the airfield’s electrical infrastructure runs beneath or near Taxiway C, making this a good time to inspect it while the taxiway is under construction, Drees said.
The entire project is estimated to cost between $8 million and $9 million, with the airport responsible for 10% of the cost under the FAA grant requirements. The airport has budgeted $1.5 million for its contribution.
The grant funds will be awarded in October.
Survey and design work for the project has already begun under a contract approved last month with engineering consulting firm Mead and Hunt for at a cost of $813,108.
Indicating to airport officials that the grant would be awarded, they encouraged the Mojave Air and Space Port to start with the design and pre-engineering work, Drees said last month.
The project will likely be ready to go out to bid no later than May 1, although April 1 is the preferred timeline, Drees said.
This will mean bids will be opened in either May or June, which fits the FAA timelines to be ready to begin work once grants are awarded, she said.
The airport will also work with the FAA to ensure the correct timing so the bids do not expire before the grant is awarded.
“A lot of the timing is going to depend on when it is awarded, when it is announced and when it is actually funded,” she said.
The timeline for the actual construction will depend in part on when work can start, weather and other factors.
The airport will work with its customers to accommodate their needs during construction, possibly phasing the work in sections.
“The good thing about having the two runways is we can use that pavement as well,” closing the secondary runway in order to shuttle aircraft around, Drees said.