The Arctic Sounder

DOT to realign the Point Hope airport to protect the facility from erosion

To protect the Point Hope Airport from erosion, the state transportation agency is realigning the facility. The airport is currently open during limited hours.

Last June, the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities started the project to realign the Point Hope runway and to replace the aging pavement, according to the project description.

The north shore of the Lisburne Peninsula, where Point Hope is located, has been eroding at a rate of 8 to 10 feet per year, damaging the northern end of the runway, the description states. The department plans to construct a new paved runway, realign the taxiway to coincide with the new runway alignment, repave the existing apron, construct new airport lighting and signage and demolish the existing runway, according to the project description.

“The location of the re-aligned runway was chosen based on forecasted erosion, wind speed and direction, environmental considerations, and community input,” Project Engineer Larissa Figley said. “The runway is being rotated approximately 13 degrees to maintain wind coverage, while also moving the northern runway end away from coastal erosion.”

The Department of Transportation is cooperating with the Federal Aviation Administration, the City of Point Hope and ASRC Civil Construction to complete the project.

Based on a DOT-led erosion study completed in 2022, the re-aligned runway should be safe from coastal erosion until after 2070, Figley said.

The old Tiagara Village site is not impacted by the old or new runway, Figley added.


“The new runway was designed to minimize new ground disturbance due to the cultural sensitivity of the entire Point Hope spit,” she said.

The airport is now closed at night until Sept. 30. There will be several days in the upcoming months when the airport won’t be open during the daytime as well.

“Ample notice will be provided to carriers and the public,” she said.

A Notice To Airmen informs pilots of the nightly closures. In case of emergencies, pilots can arrange for construction to pause activities so the Medivac can land, Figley said.

The project is expected to be completed at the end of September, Figley said.

Residents with questions regarding the project, schedule or closures can contact ASRC Project Manager Alex Else at (907) 231-9457 or Figley at (907) 434-2752 or (907) 304-1855.

Alena Naiden

Alena Naiden writes about communities in the North Slope and Northwest Arctic regions for the Arctic Sounder and ADN. Previously, she worked at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.