Monterey County

Traffic delays expected for Highway 68 near Monterey Airport Tuesday night

Crews beginning phase to complete runway safety project

MONTEREY, Calif. -- - Commuters on Highway 68 might experience some delays Tuesday night as construction gets underway at the Monterey Airport It's all part of their runway improvement projects.

The construction will help the Monterey Airport runway meet Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

Tuesday night crews will reduce Highway 68 down to one lane near the airport.

"Its installing whats called K-rail, railing that you sometimes see on highway projects, and that will allow us to create a lane for construction for about the next year or so," said Mark Bautista, airport deputy manager.

That lane will give trucks safe access to the runway on top of the hill where most of the construction will take place. The work is all part of the airport's runway safety project.

"We are on a plateau with the runway ," said Bautista.

Bautista said while the runways are safe as they are, in order to make it safer they are using a material called e-mass, or crushable concrete, for some open areas at the end of the runways.

"In the event of loss breaks or something else that would cause it to go off the runway it comes to a very slow stop as the e-mass smashes down," said Bautista.

The project will also relocate and pave new access roads which will help first responders get to the runway quickly and safely. 

Bautista said for now all flights should land and depart as scheduled, but in the future there may be some delays when crews are physically on the runway.

"We are going to have to start to turn the equipment off to do work in order to allow people to work in those areas," said Bautista.

Most work will be done at night when flights are minimal.

This whole project was delayed because of a lawsuit from community members worried about the construction's environmental impact, but that was settled in August of last year.

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