"Making a Safe Airport Safer"

Welcome to the Monterey Regional Airport Runway Safety Area Improvements Project

RSA Project Start
Destination: Super Safe!

Phase One: Airport East End Hillside in Transition (February 2014 – April 2015)

Overall Anticipated Phasing of Schedule

A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) will be issued within 72 hours prior to any change or condition that will have an effect on flight operations. 

Phase 1 – East End (February 2014 – April 2015)

Phase 2 – West End (April 2015 – January 2016)

RSA Completion 


Construction for the Runway Safety Area (RSA) project began on the east end of Runway 10R-28L in February 2014 and will continue until April 2015. After the tree and shrub removal, an existing gate was modified to provide an entrance and exit along the Highway for construction trucks and equipment that need to access the east end of the runway and hillside. Construction barriers were installed along the north side of Highway 68 to minimize disruptions to traffic on Highway 68. 

The work that is included in the first schedule within Phase One is to prepare and build the low tiers of the retaining walls, which are designed to support the plateau for the installation of the Engineered Material Arresting Systems (EMAS) bed. In addition, construction will begin on the relocated Vehicle Service Road (VSR). 

After the completion of the low tiers of the retaining walls, the upper tiers will be built and the VSR will be completed. The fill from the VSR will be used to construct the retaining walls for the EMAS plateau. When completed the retaining walls will contain mitigation plants and the entire hillside will be landscaped.

When all the tiers of the retaining walls are completed and the area east of the runway on the plateau is properly leveled, the installation of the EMAS will begin and continue into early 2015.

Project Overview

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a series of aircraft accidents around the country indicated the need for airports nationwide to enhance the safety of their runways. A Runway Safety Area (RSA) is the surface surrounding each end of a runway that provides safety margins for landing and departing aircraft in the event of an aircraft undershoot or overrun. To deter further loss of life, in 2005 Congress passed H.R. 3058 which states that airports must improve all Runway Safety Areas, to the extent practicable, by December 31, 2015.

The RSA on the Monterey Regional Airport's primary runway (10R-28L) did not meet the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prescribed dimensional standards as required by the 2005 Congressional mandate. To comply with this mandate, starting in 2006, the District developed and evaluated a number of alternatives to improve the RSAs on the primary runway at the Airport. In November 2013, after extensive environmental studies, the District approved a revised project and in December 2013, approved pre-construction site preparation plans.

Construction began in early 2014 and is expected to be completed in early 2016. The estimated cost of the Project is $52 million. The Project is being funded by the Airport Improvement and Passenger Facility Charge Programs.

When completed, this RSA Improvements Project will provide 100% RSAs at both ends of the Airport’s primary runway. These RSAs will make a safe Airport safer while meeting the FAA new standards.

The Airport District appreciates the support of local communities, businesses, Airport users and the travelling public during the design and development of this Project. The District will post updates on the Improvements Project as construction progresses and will provide construction schedules as they become available.

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EMAS Fun Facts

  • 3,990 blocks will be used to create one EMAS bed. That’s about 10 times as many blocks as there are people living in Sand City! The two EMAS beds will total 7,980 blocks.
  • The smallest block will be 6” high – about the height of an iPad mini.
  • The largest block will be 20” high – about the length of the top of a school desk.
  • All together the blocks for one EMAS bed would weigh 1,000 tons or two million pounds. That’s about as much as 100 T-Rexes total weight or about 50 times the weight of the biggest ship docked in the Monterey Harbor (not including cruise ships)!