Airport Director Alan Murphy proposed that four related projects be
completed in the next two years. The work would cover improvements to two
taxiways, the airport's inner perimeter road and upgrades to the security
system inside Thomas F. Riley Terminal.
The improvements are to be funded mostly with a federal grant. The
board allocated $1.6 million for this year to help secure that federal
"This grant will help us improve airport conditions," said airport
spokeswoman Yolanda Perez. "Some of those elements are definitely to
create a safer environment."
Airport crews plan to resurface Taxiway Echo, a high-speed exit
taxiway that gets heavy use from commercial flights. If the project is
approved, bids will go out in July. If all goes as planned, the project
should be completed by spring 2003.
The 600-foot taxiway would be shut down while the work is underway.
Commercial flights would be sent to the south end of the 5,700-foot
commercial runway for takeoff. The project is expected to cost $980,000.
Airport officials also hope to reconfigure Taxiway Gulf and Taxiway
Hotel. The Y-shaped roadways, used chiefly by general aviation planes to
reach the runway, would be combined into one road. The two roads have
tended to confuse pilots of private jets heading to the 2,887-foot
general aviation runway for takeoff, Perez said.
That project, expected to cost $5.2 million, is expected to go to bid
in July. Construction should begin in October and wrap up by spring 2002.
A revamp of the airport's 1.5-mile perimeter road, which loops inside
the perimeter fence, also is planned. The Board of Supervisors will
consider the first of two phases of the project, from about Paularino
Avenue to the Corona del Mar Freeway. Bids are expected to go out in
July, and the $400,000 project should be completed by December 2002.
The closed-circuit television sets and identification-card readers
inside the terminal also would be upgraded at an expected cost of $3
The airport plans to apply to the Federal Aviation Administration for
a $6.77-million grant to pay for the bulk of the improvements. The county
would have to come up with the remaining $2.63 million, with final
numbers on the costs still to be determined.
Wilson, whose district includes Newport Beach, said he was happy to
approve the funding but also warned county planners hoping to build an
airport at the closed El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.
In the airport's 2001 business plan, released in early March, Murphy
warned that the county's raids on airport revenue -- $34.8 million since
1995 -- will take their toll.
"As the county continues to drain the monies out of John Wayne for El
Toro planning, that money might be hard to come by," Wilson said.
In other action Tuesday, supervisors unanimously approved an
environmental review of Newport Beach's proposed extension of the 1985
airport settlement agreement.
The city has proposed increasing the cap on annual passengers and
flights in exchange for a 20-year extension of the nighttime curfew.