Airport moves forward with runway overhaul

(Posted Nov. 4, 2020)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Funding changes are allowing the Madison County Airport to start two major improvement projects ahead of schedule.

The first is rehabilitation of the runway, a project estimated to cost $1.5 million. Traditionally, the Federal Aviation Administration covers 90 percent of the cost of such improvements. The local airport authority then picks up either 5 percent or 10 percent, depending on state contributions.

This year, however, due to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the FAA is fully funding all projects already in the works. The Madison County Airport Authority began the design and engineering phase for the runway overhaul last year. Without the local share obligation, the airport is retaining $75,000 to $150,000 in funding for other projects.

With full funding in place, the runway job can go out to bid this coming spring. Work should begin mid-summer, said Bill Laney, airport authority board president. Once work starts, the airport will be closed for 25 to 45 days.

As for the need for rehabilitation of the runway, Laney said, “Age is the main thing. There gets a point in asphalt’s life where it needs to be redone.”

The Ohio Department of Transportation inspected the runway and deemed it in need of replacement. Laney said the runway has been in service for at least 15 years. He noted there are no plans to lengthen it.

The airport authority had planned to use some of the entitlement funds it receives from the FAA each year to pay the local share of the runway project. While that is not necessary now, the airport must use some of those entitlement funds for another project in 2021. Otherwise, the money goes back to the FAA for redistribution.

So, with input from the FAA and consultants, the airport authority is moving forward with a runway lighting project that was originally scheduled to be done three to four years from now.

The airport has started the design phase. The estimated cost of the project is $500,000 to $600,000. Laney expects the work to be done next fall. The FAA will fund at least 90 percent of the project. The rest of the funding structure is not yet set.

Using local funds, the airport authority has started to replace or add doors to various hangars at the airport to make them more desirable to potential renters.
On Nov. 3, the Madison County commissioners approved the appointment of Eric Dust, a tenant at the airport and a Madison County resident, to the airport authority board.

The Madison County Airport is located at 1281 U.S. Route 40, London. For more information, call (740) 852-5040.

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