Airport gets millions for runway safety

May 13, 2019

WASHINGTON — Last week, Huntington Tri-State Airport was awarded a $10 million federal grant to improve the runway safety area and keep the airport in compliance with current federal and state aviation standards.

U.S. Rep. Carol Miller, R-W. Va., announced the Department of Transportation funding Thursday.

“This is crucial for the Tri-State Airport,” Miller said in a news release. “I have worked hard to secure more funding for West Virginia and improve our infrastructure needs since taking office. This investment will dramatically increase the airport’s ability to serve our community and make it possible for further growth and economic development in the Tri-State region.”

The funds are available as a result of a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill intended to fund the federal government, signed by President Donald Trump in October. In addition to $3.3 billion allocated to the Airport Improvement Program, $1 billion was set aside for airport discretionary grants targeted at small and rural airports used mainly by general aviation pilots.

HTS airport director Brent Brown thanked Miller for her work in securing the grant monies and said it will be used for Phase 1 of a runway project at the airport.

“We appreciate the congresswoman’s continued support of HTS and her recognition of the airport’s value to the community,” Brown said. “The runway safety area project is designed to move an estimated 1 million cubic yards of material, which will stabilize the foundation and improve drainage along the project site.”

It’s a three-phase project, according to Brown, and will require “between 900,000 and 1 million yards of material to be moved.”

He said the funds have not been released yet, as they are designated for the 2020 fiscal year, and he anticipates getting Phase 1 underway by February or March next year, though that timeline could change depending on weather.

Crews are also making steady progress on a separate project involving a taxiway relocation at the airport.

Brown said crews are reconstructing and relocating taxiway Alpha East, moving that

taxiway 75 feet to the north, which will give it the appropriate distance from the taxiway to the runway and be in compliance with safety requirements regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

That project is expected to be completed by the end of July.

At a cost of $13 million, FAA grant money is being used to fund the project, as well as some assistance from state government.

The Tri-State Airport is located three miles south of Huntington and serves Huntington, Ashland, Ironton and the surrounding areas. It handles commercial airline, air cargo, military and other general aviation traffic.