By Cody Stark
November 1, 2011
HUNTSVILLE – It’s been close to five years since the city has been able to make upgrades to the Huntsville Municipal Airport. Thanks to a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation’s Aviation Program, some much needed projects are now in the works.
The cost of the improvements, which include such things as replacing lights, repaving runaways and installing game-proof fencing around the airport, are estimated to cost $3.44 million over the next two years. Through the grant, TxDOT is covering 90 percent of those costs and the city is expected to pay for the other 10 percent, or $344,000.
“It has been a while since we have been able to do any significant upgrades at the airport that the city is in charge of,” Public Works Director Aron Kulhavy said. “There is some work that needs to be done, so we are excited about receiving this funding.”
The project is being broken into two phases, with the city paying $64,000, which will come from general funds transfers, for fiscal year 2011-12. Most of those costs will cover engineering and design.
For the fiscal year 2013 (October 2012 though September 2013), Huntsville will pay its remaining $280,000 for the project. The final phase will cover the reconstruction of the apron and north and south hanger access; replacement of the windsock, tower and runway lights, improvements to drainage, repavements of runways and taxiways and the installation of a game-proof fence.
“Most of the work is going to be done in fiscal year 2013 because the planning and design will be done in 2012,” Kulhavy said. “We need to make upgrades to the runways and the taxiways. We also plan to put in a wildlife fence that goes along the entire boundary of the airport to keep out hogs and deer, which can get in there and tear up the land.
“We also need to replace the rotating light. There is a lot that needs to be done.”
TxDOT began the Texas Airport Development Program in 1966 with an annual budget of $200,000, and today it hands out $60 million in federal and $16 million in state grants each year.
To apply for grants, eligible airports must submit letters to TxDOT describing the projects needed and safety issues usually get top priority.
The funds are to be used for planned airport improvements, which include engineering, design and construction and pavement and lighting improvements.
Once projects are approved by the Transportation Commission, TxDOT will select an engineer for the project with the city’s input and design will begin.
Source: THE HUNTSVILLE ITEM