Construction projects aim to make Springfield airport safer

The city of Springfield has applied for a nearly $500,000 grant and entered into an almost $600,000 contract regarding two projects at the local airport that focuses on safety.

The projects will focus on runway improvements at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal airport, including the construction of a new path that connects to the runway and the installation of lights that aid pilots.

Springfield city commissioners approved two emergency ordinances this week related to those two projects.

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One has to do with the removal of taxiway C and the construction of a new one at the airport. Commissioners have authorized the city to apply for a grant through the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division for an amount up $462,764 for that project.

The taxiway that will be removed and than reconstructed is used by aircraft to enter and exit the airport’s primary runway. The taxiway has surpassed its useful life and does not meet airport design standards set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration, said Seth Timmerman, the airport manager for Springfield-Beckley.

The taxiway does not connect to the runway at a right angle, which is recommended by the FAA. The project aims to correct that. However, Timmerman was not able to provide an estimate to what the overall project would costs nor what the construction timeline would look like.

As part of the grant application, the city has authorized the expenditure of up to $24,356 to be used as local matching funds.

Springfield commissioners have also approved the entering into a contract with Jess Howard Electric Company for the installation of Precision Approach Path Indicators at the airport. The contract is for an amount not to exceed $572,031.

Those bright red and white lights are usually placed at the end of runways to assist pilots when coming in on the approach to land. The project hopes to install those lights by the spring or summer of 2023.

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Timmerman said that the airport’s current Precision Approach Path Indicators have surpassed their useful life and are expensive to maintain.

These projects come as the airport has played a role in recent economic development efforts. That includes aiding the transportation of goods, supporting existing businesses that have a presence at the airport and playing a role in the development and testing of unmanned aircraft and air mobility technology.

Timmerman said that the two projects aimed at improving runways and access to runways aid overall economic development efforts by making airport operations more safe.

“These projects are important to keep operations safe in and out of Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport,” he said.

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