CLEARWATER — St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport is about to start a $24.1 million job to rebuild and rehabilitate its main runway, which means that this summer the airport will use its secondary runway during construction.
And that means residents in Feather Sound, Pinellas Park, Largo, Seminole, Redington Shores, Redington Beach, and North Redington Beach likely will see — and hear — more flyover traffic.
Most of the change will take place from June to October, though the airport does plan to use its secondary runway for four days starting next Tuesday.
“Feather Sound is the one that is going to be most impacted, and we’re working with them very specifically about notifications to their community,” airport spokeswoman Michele Routh said Tuesday.
If there’s a silver lining, it’s that construction is starting at a time when the number of flights has fallen off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the end of this week, the airport projects that a total of 63 percent of flights will have been canceled since March 16. The drop in passenger traffic will likely be even bigger, Routh said. During spring break, the airport typically sees more than 200 flights a week. This week it is scheduled to have 82, only about half of what it would normally see in May.
The runway to be rehabilitated, known as 18-36, is a north-south runway that runs parallel to the Bayside Bridge. The secondary runaway, known as 4-22, is more southwest-to-northeast.
The Federal Aviation Administration last October awarded the airport a $19.75 million grant for the job. The Florida Department of Transportation is contributing another $900,000. The remaining $3.43 million will come from Pinellas County, which owns and operates the airport.
Ajax Paving Industries of Florida is expected to complete repairing the cracked and weathered 9,730-foot-long runway and adding new lights along its edges by next spring.
The airport had a record 2.3 million passengers last year, capping a decade in which its passenger counts nearly doubled.