Project Introduction & Background
The Yup’ik village of Newtok is situated on the rapidly eroding west bank of the Ninglick River. The erosion rate threatens the entire community and it is estimated the river will impact the airport by 2022. The community has chosen to relocate to Mertarvik because there is no cost effective solution to protect the infrastructure of Newtok village from the erosion. Mertarvik is located approximately 9 miles southeast of Newtok on the north end of Nelson Island on Baird Inlet and will serve as the new Newtok village site. This airport relocation project is part of the greater village relocation to Mertarvik. The airport relocation, including all of the existing operations, is of critical importance because the Mertarvik site is situated on an island with no roads connecting it to other communities.
The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) is proposing to construct a new Community Class airport to support the village of Newtok at the Mertarvik relocation site. Newtok’s primary airport serves basic needs, such as hospital airlift and emergency services, cargo operations, passenger service and local aviation related business, and will continue to meet those needs at the relocated airport site in Mertarvik.
The Newtok Airport Relocation project includes construction of the near-term airport:
- Design and construction of a main runway, taxiway, aircraft parking apron and access road.
The airport relocation supports the overall purpose of the Mertarvik Infrastructure Development Project, supported by the Denali Commission, to provide the people of Newtok a place to live that allows them to keep their community and way of life within their traditional lands long-term, while creating the necessary infrastructure for a safe, stable, and healthy existence (USACE, Final EIS Mertarvik Infrastructure Development Nelson Island, Alaska.
Project Schedule (2020 update)
The Newtok Airport Relocation project began in July 2018 and will continue through construction of a relocated airport at the Mertarvik Site scheduled to begin in 2020 and proceed through 2022.
- Project Kickoff: July 2018
- 75% Design Plans In Hand Submittal: January 2019
- 95% Design Pre-PS&E Submittal: September 2019
- Final Design and Construction Bid Package Ready: August 2020
- ROW Acquisitions, August 2020
- Environmental permits were received July 2020
- Construction Start: Fall 2020
- Construction Completion: Fall 2022