St. Mary’s Airport Improvements
Brice Inc. Begins Work to Fix Aging Runway
Storyknife, Mar/Apr 2023 edition
As a transportation hub for Lower Yukon residents, visitors, mail, and emergency services, the St. Mary’s Airport needs upgrades to meet federal standards for commuter and freight aircraft serving the community.
In September 2022, Calista subsidiary Brice Inc. was awarded a $53 million contract from the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities for its competitively bid St. Mary’s Airport Improvements Project to provide these upgrades.
The project will take two years to complete. Work includes runway resurfacing, new electric lighting systems on runway, taxiway and aprons, and drainage improvements.
Residents in St. Mary’s, Marshall and Pitka’s Point will see activity in the coming months. Minor mobilization will begin in May and significant work will start in June. Gravel will be sourced from the Pitka’s Point quarry and a new high-quality rock source at Pilcher Mountain in Marshall.
Local hire recruitment—including equipment operators, drivers and laborers—began in early 2023, interviews were underway in March, and hiring will begin in May, says Paul Walsh, the Brice Inc. project manager for the St. Mary’s Improvements Project.
Brice Inc. was awarded a $53 million contract from the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities for its competitively bid St. Mary’s Airport Improvements Project.
“We reached out to both St. Mary’s and Marshall governments to discuss employment for their residents and others in the surrounding region,” he says.
While the purpose of the airport project is to meet Federal Aviation Administration standards, another benefit is the development of a new high-grade quarry at Pilcher Mountain.
“The St. Mary’s airport project is the first use of this new rock source at Pilcher Mountain, which meets strict requirements for federally funded transportation projects,” says Tisha Kuhns, Calista Vice President of Land and Natural Resources.
It is typically more expensive to barge high-grade rock from quarries outside the region, Kuhns says. “The work to develop Pilcher Mountain this summer will make it more economically viable for future community infrastructure projects.”