The award of four federal aviation grants totaling more than $20 million will help Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority complete several large infrastructure projects.
On Tuesday, LNAA officials agreed to accept four grants totaling $20,786,225 from the Federal Aviation Administration, with funds coming from the federal Airport Improvement Program.
The federal agency packaged the majority of funding into three different grants for the second part of construction of the Runway 6-24 rehabilitation project at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Hanover Township, Lehigh County.
The second part of the Runway 6-24 project has a total cost of $22,647,401 and includes a process of rehabilitating the pavement, in addition to strengthening it and regrading and removing storm drains from the runway.
Thomas Stoudt, executive director of LNAA, said there are two mini projects inside the package for Runway 6-24.
The first includes removing about three inches of deteriorated pavement on the runway and adding fresh pavement back in. Another grant provides additional strengthening.
“We will be doing more night work, we are not looking at any extended closures,” Stoudt said. “There’s a chance there could be a 24-hour closure, but not for a couple of years.”
The grants for Runway 6-24 include one for $11,531,021; another for $348,295; and another for $8,503,344.
The entire estimated cost of the Runway-64 project is $90 million, and the airport authority has a goal to complete it by 2023.
The FAA typically pays for the airport authority’s capital projects and the organization has been supportive, he added.
“We’ve been working with the FAA…they’ve been helpful in providing the funding,” Stoudt said. “If there’s a year we can’t connect with the funding, that would extend the project.”
The fourth grant is for Queen City Airport in Allentown, which LNAA also operates. The $403,565 grant is for the removal of obstructions blocking the approach to Runway 15.
Stoudt said the airport authority wants to make sure pilots have a clear approach to the runway and will remove trees that are too tall. After removing the trees and stumps, workers will repave and clear the area.