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Airport to repave runway, upgrade equipment

Lehigh Valley International Airport wants to repave its 90,000-square-foot main runway and replace some of its aging, critical equipment such as its fire rescue vehicle.

Lehigh Valley International Airport wants to repave its 90,000-square-foot main runway and replace some of its aging, critical equipment such as its fire rescue vehicle.

The upgrades, which will cost millions, had been shelved for years while the airport’s authority paid off a $16 million judgment ordered two decades ago.

The go-ahead for the improvements comes after a plan to build a $335 million FedEx Ground mega-hub near the airport was finalized. The Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority sold 260 acres to a developer for the project for $9.8 million.

“Now we have funds to put in the bank and catch up on deferred maintenance,” said Charles Everett, executive director of the authority. “We’ve just been in a holding pattern where we haven’t been able to make the investment we need to. This is a really critical part.”

The airport also could seek to make more revenue by building and leasing more hangars and selling or leasing more land, he added.

The surface of the primary runway, which is nearly 600 feet long and 150 feet wide, needs to be rehabilitated. Construction should begin next year, and the design alone could cost about $1 million, he said.

The airport, which is in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, also wants to replace its rescue firefighting vehicle and snow removal equipment.

“We are going to try to stretch those dollars as far as they will go,” Everett said. “We have to really strategically allocate these resources.”

The improvements and upgrades will be costly for the airport, which is always trying to find sources of nonaeronautical revenue.

“Every day we are looking at addressing opportunities for generating revenue, entering agreements with investors within the next several months,” Everett said.

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.

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