$2.6 Million Invested in Hudson Bay Airport
An estimated $2.6 million will be invested by the province to improve the runway, taxiways and aprons at the Hudson Bay Airport to provide better service for aircraft.
"It's important to invest in this component of our transportation system," Highways and Infrastructure Minister Jim Reiter said. "Airports have a role in sustaining our quality of life, such as supporting forest fire fighting and air ambulance services."
Construction includes preparing and then repaving of the main 1,524-metre long by 30-metre wide runway, three taxiways and two aprons. A smaller secondary runway will also be decommissioned with part of it being used to extend a taxiway to allow access to the main runway. This decommissioning is occurring because the smaller runway is generally no longer used and is closed in the winter. The project is expected to begin as early as Thursday, August 4 and to be finished by mid September, depending on the weather.
Once completed, the airport's runway will be better able to accommodate various aircraft, such as two types used by the province to fight forest fires: the Convair 580 land-based aircraft that carry fire suppressant retardant and the Turbo Aero Commanders (called Bird Dogs) used to direct the operation of air tankers. Presently only the following two provincial forest fire fighting aircraft use the Hudson Bay Airport: CL 215 water bombers and De Havilland Trackers that carry fire suppressant.
"Keeping Saskatchewan's communities safe from wildfire is a priority," Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said. "These infrastructure improvements will allow the provincial wildfire program to better utilize the Hudson Bay Tanker base as a staging area for the province's air tanker fleet, including the larger and heavier Convair 580A." The main runway will be closed for part of the project with accommodations made for emergency air ambulance flights as soon as work on the runway is completed. Limited aircraft operations will be allowed until all work is completed at the airport.
Pilots and air carriers are reminded to check NOTAMs (Notice to Airmen) regularly throughout the project as to the current status of the Hudson Bay Airport by checking Nav Canada's website under NOTAMs at www.navcanada.ca.
The Hudson Bay Airport's primary role is to support the air tanker forest fire fighting base at the facility. The airport is one of 17 owned and operated by the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure.
The same contractor for this project, G.W. Construction Ltd., is also completing roughly 6 km of repaving on Highway 9 from about 2 km south of the south junction of Highway 9 and Highway 3 in Hudson Bay. This $2.5 million project began in July.
Article by Renee Leason