In a written statement, Miller said, “The board announces that it will soon be attracting more specialized flights and helping stimulate the area’s economy when work is completed on a recently announced improvement project. Word has just been received from Sen. Richard Shelby’s office that the third and final phase of a new air cargo complex is going to receive funding as part of the (Federal Aviation Administration’s) 2013 Airport Improvements Program. The FAA is funding over 90 percent of the project,” the airport board itself matching 5 percent and the state Department of Transportation chipping in the other 5 percent. The state had not originally agreed to provide any matching funds, but stepped up after the federal funding was announced, Miller said.
“When completed, the overall project will consist of a new 100,000 square foot apron with connecting taxiway, a new two lane access road, and an adjacent graded area on which to build a future 50,000 square foot hangar or cargo handling building. Area lighting for 24 hour use, security fencing and direct access to Speedway Blvd. will also compliment the completed project.”
The release goes on to explain the $1.3 million project “is the last of several major projects that have taken place at the airport since 2000. Other noted projects include the relocation of the parallel taxiway away from the runway in order to upgrade the classification of the airport; the installation of an (instrument landing system) by the FAA; the clearing and widening of the runway safety area; the construction of new hangars and strengthening and remarking the runway.”
According to engineer Ken Gilbert, the board has been lucky on a couple of occasions that have allowed the project to grow.
Gilbert explained the original apron was to be 200 feet by 250 feet, but the phase one bids came in low, and Waites Construction was able to grade and do earth work for an area twice as wide. The phase two bid, from McCartney Construction, also came in low, meaning that the entire 500 foot width could be paved over with cement.
Phase three involves putting asphalt on top of that, sealing it and putting in the other equipment mention in Miller’s statement.
Miller said he hopes to be able to recruit UPS, Federal Express or another national company to the airport. Gilbert said long-term he would like to see the runway expanded, but this was several years down the road.
Contact Chris Norwood at firstname.lastname@example.org