The runway at Alexandra Airport is set to get a makeover.
The 1200m-long 30m-wide chip-sealed runway was first chip-sealed in the mid to late 1980s but has not been resurfaced since.
A Central Otago District Council properties and facilities spokesman told The News there were about 1000 landings per year at the airport and feedback from a couple of frequent users raised concerns the runway was deteriorating.
‘‘[There are] concerns that holes will start forming where chip seal is chipping off and starting to crack, and that an aircraft might be damaged as a result,’’ they said.
‘‘[A] contractor has also advised council that because the chip seal is cracking, [if the] issue is not dealt with now, then the council will need to rip it all up and redo rather than just sealing over the top.’’
Work to resurface the runway is expected to cost $930,000.
A budget of $486,000 had been allowed for in the 2022-23 annual plan. However, Covid-19 and rising construction costs had resulted in a shortfall of about $445,000 to complete the task.
In a report to the council last month property officer Tara Bates said the runway resurfacing had been included in the previous long-term plan budget considerations but was left off because further investigation was needed into the type of resurfacing required.
The $445,000 shortfall would come from the $900,000 capital budget allocated for a new hangar precinct development at the airport.
The development had not progressed after economic downturn and delays in getting a water supply saw a drop-off in demand.
The financial funding strategy for the airport would be addressed in the long-term plan 2024-34 process.
District council group manger for community experience David Scoones said while it was disappointing the hangar development — which was to have taken place in the 2023-24 year — had not eventuated, it was fortunate the funding for the runway could come from existing budgets.
‘‘The airport is vital to the district for many reasons, and we want to fulfil our obligations laid out in the master plan, to provide a safe, user-friendly and efficient facility for aviation-related businesses, aircraft operators and lease holders.’’
Sealing of the runway is scheduled for later this year.