FAA to Issue $15.5 Million Safety Grant for Kotzebue, Alaska, Airport

Grant will help expand runway safety areas at both ends of Runway 9/27 at Ralph Wien Memorial Airport

A $15.5 million Federal Aviation Administration grant will help expand runway safety areas (RSAs) at both ends of Runway 9/27 at Ralph Wien Memorial Airport in Kotzebue, Alaska. RSAs protect passengers and crew if an aircraft overruns, undershoots, or veers off the side of the runway.

“Enhancing runway safety areas is a national priority for the FAA,” Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said. “We are pleased to provide critical infrastructure support to enhance safety in the Alaska region.”

Ralph Wien Memorial Airport serves several passenger and cargo airlines and is the primary connection to other parts of Alaska and the United States for a number of remote communities.

The RSA work at Ralph Wien is complex because Runway 9/27 is surrounded by water. The project will shift the 5,900-foot runway 200 feet to the east, move a lagoon channel, remove a portion of a hill, and create a new sea wall to protect the west end of the runway. More than 170,000 cubic yards of clean fill will be delivered by barge to Kotzebue for use in this project.

Work is expected to begin in October and be completed in late 2014.