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Feds to pay nearly $3M for upgrades at airports

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LVIA will receive a $1.4 million grant for rehabilitating Runway 6/24. (Contributed photo)
LVIA will receive a $1.4 million grant for rehabilitating Runway 6/24. (Contributed photo)

Critical projects and delayed maintenance at two airports owned by the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority are getting a boost thanks to $2.8 million in grants it will receive from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The LNAA Board of Governors approved the FAA grants today, with all funds coming from the federal Airport Improvement Program entitlement fund.

The airport authority will receive four grants, two for Lehigh Valley International Airport in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, and two for Queen City Airport in Allentown, said Tom Stoudt, the authority interim executive director.

The first grant is to acquire snow removal equipment at LVIA to replace equipment that’s past its life span, Stoudt said. The equipment is very critical to keeping the airfield operational, Stoudt said. This $1.1 million grant is for two snow removal vehicles.

Also, LVIA will receive a $1.4 million grant for rehabilitating Runway 6/24.

“This is the final design we will be working on over the next nine to 12 months,” Stoudt said. “We will probably start construction the fourth quarter of 2018. This is really a project that will bring our primary runway up to FAA design standards.”

The entire rehabilitation of the 7,600-foot runway is expected to cost about $40 million and span four years.

For stormwater management, the airport is required to move certain sections of the runway, Stoudt said.

“It will capture stormwater outside of our runway safety area,” Stoudt said.

While the airport manages the stormwater on the paved surface, the FAA’s design standard changed about seven years ago, he said.

The airport will add 25 feet of paved shoulders to each side of the runway, build up the pavement section and relocate runway edge lights, among other measures.

Meanwhile, Queen City Airport in Allentown was authorized to receive $147,330 to update the airport’s master plan. Stoudt said the last grant the airport received from the FAA to update its master plan was in 2006.

Queen City also will receive $79,830 for an environmental assessment for the approaches of two runways.

Overall, Stoudt sees more growth occurring at Queen City.

“We certainly have the capability to add capacity there,” Stoudt said. “I think we always talked about hangars and having additional hangars, rehabilitation of facilities when we talk about capital investment.”

The master plan outlines the terminal area forecast, facility requirements and development of alternatives for how the terminal area is configured.

“What’s great about the airport system is we have three different airports,” Stoudt said. The third is Braden Airpark in Forks Township.

This allows for the airport authority to offer different products and services for different users.

The airport authority has to submit the paperwork for the grant acceptance to the FAA, and the FAA makes the funds available for the coming fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1, Stoudt said.

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Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it.

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