As with most airports in rural Alaska, Kotzebue’s Ralph Wien Memorial Airport is an essential feature in the lives of everyone in the community, providing the primary means of transportation for passengers, mail, and cargo throughout the year. In addition, it is the regional hub serving the entire Northwest Arctic Borough, the Red Dog Mine, and the North Slope Borough village of Point Hope.
PDC began work in Kotzebue in 2008 with an airport relocation feasibility study to determine if the airport could be moved out of town. The airport’s location adjacent to town, the lagoon, and the Kotzebue Sound limits any growth. Our analysis included an investigation into potential sites, environmental impacts, and capital costs. Ultimately, relocating the airport was deemed impractical due to incredibly high construction costs.
PDC then led the update to the airport master plan to determine how best to meet the community’s needs over the next 20 years given the geographic constraints of the airport’s location. Through a series of public meetings, stakeholder interviews, research, and impact analyses, we ultimately developed a long-term plan that made the most of the airport’s assets.
In addition to the master plan update, PDC also updated the Airport Layout Plan. Due to a very strict deadline on the FAA grant for the ALP, PDC completed the entire ALP update in less than two months.