Safety Improvements

Southwest Oregon Regional Airport

Environmental Assessment for
Runway 4/22 Safety Area Improvements

The Coos County Airport District (CCAD) is working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to extend the Runway Safety Area (RSA) at the northeastern end of Southwest Oregon Regional Airport’s main runway (4/22) to comply with current airfield design standards. The RSA is the surface surrounding the runway prepared or suitable for reducing the risk of damage to airplanes in the event of an undershoot, overshoot, or excursion from the runway. In addition to the extension of the RSA, the airport also plans to relocate the Glide Slope instrumentation to comply with FAA standards and to perform maintenance on the Medium Intensity Approach Lighting System (MALSR).

The Southwest Oregon Regional Airport (OTH) is releasing a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for public comment as part of the environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This analysis was done in preparation for the safety upgrades at OTH. The EA will be available to the public for comment for a 30-day period. After the 30-day period expires, public comments will be reviewed and considered by the FAA, and the EA will be revised and recirculated.

Details about the project and the environmental assessment are provided both in the EA and in the technical reports in the appendices of the EA. This page gives a brief overview of the proposed project and the NEPA process.

Projects that are funded by federal agencies or that require federal permits must be evaluated through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to ensure that the project does not have a negative impact on the natural or human environment. The project purpose and need statement provides the foundation for determining which alternatives will be considered and for selecting the preferred alternative. You can find additional information about the importance of purpose and need in the environmental process here.

The proposed project is needed to meet safety standards for the existing fleet to allow OTH to remain in operation. Options to extend the runway to accommodate larger aircraft were examined and deemed too expensive and not feasible. The proposed project will update aging infrastructure and address safety-related FAA design standards for runway and ARFF operations at the airport. The Runway Safety Area (RSA) and taxiway connectors do not currently meet design standards set by the FAA. Other facilities, including the medium intensity approach lighting system with runway alignment indicator lights (MALSR) and apron pavement, have reached the end of their useful lives and require updating.

CCAD completed its Master Plan Update in 2013, which outlines actions needed to ensure OTH meets FAA design standards; see Figure 1-2. Five projects were identified as priorities based on FAA guidance through the master planning process:
• Comply with RSA requirements at the northeast end of the Runway 4/22;
• Remove taxiway connectors that allow direct access to the taxiways to enhance safety;
• Reconstruct and rehabilitate portions of the main GA apron pavement that have degraded;
• Undertake maintenance to the MALSR electrical systems that have corroded; and
• Relocate the glide slope antenna 150 feet from center of Runway 4/22 to meet minimum distance requirements.

Alternatives were considered to bring the runway and runway safety area into compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards. The project team used a set of screening criteria to review the potential project alternatives and recommended which should be analyzed in-depth in the environmental assessment. NEPA also requires that a No Action and Use Another Airport in the Vicinity Alternatives are also considered. Both were eliminated from consideration because they did not meet the project purpose and need.

The screening criteria include:
• Does the alternative support the category of aircraft that utilize OTH?
• Does the alternative create additional safety or operational issues?
• Does the alternative meet the safety needs of the airport?
• Does the alternative make sense economically?

Alternatives that do not meet the purpose and need, or are deemed to be unreasonable to implement at OTH due to other considerations, were eliminated during the forecasting and planning stage and will not be carried forward for analysis in this EA. Four alternatives outlined in the 2013 OTH Master Plan Update are listed below. An overview of potential impacts, including quantitative rankings for each alternative, is provided in Appendix B. An explanation of why these alternatives were eliminated follows in the analysis below:
• Alternative 1 – Remove Two GA Apron Taxiway Connectors Add One GA Taxiway Connector
• Alternative 2 – Relocate the glide slope antenna 150 feet north of Runway 4/22 centerline
• Alternative 3 – Shift Runway 4/22 and Taxiway C to the south
• Alternative 4 – Install Engineered Materials Arresting System (EMAS) on Runway 4 departure end

Alternative 5 – Proposed Action:
• Add a bulkhead to northeast end of the Runway 4/22 Runway Safety Area (RSA);
• Remove two taxiway connectors and reconstruct the main general aviation apron pavement;
• Install new electrical equipment to the medium intensity approach lighting system with runway alignment indicator lights (MALSR);
• Relocate the glide slope antenna 150 feet south of the centerline of Runway 4/22.

No Action Alternative.
• As required, the No Action Alternative has been carried forward for analysis because it provides a baseline for comparing the potential effects of other reasonable alternatives.

This EA has been developed consistent with the existing national environmental policies and objects of Section 101(a) of the NEPA and meets the requirements of the CEQ Regulations. The Preferred Alternative meets the purpose and need as described in Chapter 1, would address existing design and operational deficiencies, and increase the overall ability of the Airport to support its current level of activity. After careful review and consideration, it has been determined that the Preferred Alternative would not yield any significant cumulative impacts to either the natural or human environment. Mitigation measures have been outlined as environmental commitments to offset the project related impacts described herein.

An initial public outreach meeting was held in May of 2019 in the OTH Airport lobby to introduce the proposed projects and answer questions. A second public meeting has been replaced by this webpage due to the provisions of Oregon Governor’s Executive Order 20-12, issued on March 23, 2020, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This page will be the main portal to share project updates and results of environmental surveys/biological assessment and to collect public comment on the EA.

Interested persons can make formal comments through the project website or in-person at the Administrative Offices of the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport. If you would like to make a comment about the proposed project, you can click here to access the public comment form.