The runway at Marin County’s Gnoss Field Airport, located three miles north of Novato, is showing signs of deterioration and will require a complete pavement renovation.
On June 20, the Marin County Board of Supervisors approved the rehabilitation plans and the Marin County Department of Public Works (DPW) will move forward with managing the project, provided that the County receives Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant funds for construction. The work will require the airport to close for approximately four or five weeks starting in September.
The construction cost estimate for the improvements is $1.68 million with an additional $225,000 in construction management and testing costs, of which the FAA grant will cover 90 percent. Local funds, mainly from airport tenants’ hangar fees, will be used to pay for the remaining 10 percent financed over four years. Actual costs will be known once the project goes through the construction bidding process in August.
The runway, measuring 3,300 feet long and 75 feet wide, was constructed in 1968. A pavement inspection in June 2016, conducted by the consulting firm Mead and Hunt, Inc., determined that the runway is showing signs of deterioration, such as cracking and sagging, and that previous crack repairs are failing. The County received a separate FAA grant last year to finance the design of the runway rehabilitation. The consulting firm concluded that the airport’s single runway required renovation to adequately continue serving the air traffic needs.
The proposed rehabilitation is more than new pavement. The base structure under the runway will be leveled and rebuilt and several distressed taxiway sections will be improved.
The result will enhance overall safety by providing a smooth surface with improved grading, drainage and pavement markings. Separately from this rehabilitation project, Gnoss’ potential runway extension project is still under FAA consideration for a future date.
“The improvements will provide a better experience for the airport’s users and will also open up new possibilities for future aviation services,” said Dan Jensen, Gnoss Field Manager. “This is a much-needed step in ensuring the longevity and functionality of Gnoss Field.”
Due to the nature of the required materials and work process, construction will need to be completed before the weather turns and temperatures drop this fall. The project will be conducted under an intensive schedule and the runway will need to be closed to accommodate the timeline. It is anticipated that the closure will last for 30 to 40 days, starting sometime in mid-September, depending on the timing of the FAA grant.
DPW personnel will work closely with the airport tenants and users to minimize the impact and communicate the progress.
Gnoss Field, on the eastern side of Highway 101 and Mount Burdell, handles about 85,500 flight operations per year and is a popular destination for both business and pleasure pilots. The airport occupies 120 acres and is open 24 hours a day.