November 16, 2011
By Marjon Rostami
CHESAPEAKEÂ–The Chesapeake Regional Airport has had plans since 2008 for an expansion that features a restaurant, construction or upgrades of hangars, an aircraft wash rack, a connector taxiway and another airport access road.
But before any of that can move forward, the airport has to deal with the 12.3 acres of wetlands it owns that would be impacted. It has begun to do just that, proposing to compensate for the wetlands impact by buying about $280,000 in credits from the Lower James River Wetland Mitigation Bank.
The Federal Aviation Administration would cover 95 percent of that cost and the state 3 percent, leaving 2 percent ($5,600) for the city.
The airport’s master plan calls for further expansion of the terminal to provide more space for aircraft parking, according to Joe Love, the Chesapeake Airport Authority manager.
About 135 aircraft are based at the airport, which is ahead of the forecast that 129 aircraft would be based there in 2015. That growth has been a driving factor for the expansion, Love said
“We’re in the early stages of this,” said Love, noting that plans are so preliminary that there isn’t even a price tag attached to it. “There could be a decision that we hold off on construction if the economy doesn’t support it.
“We’re not going out and getting bids at this point. We’re purchasing wetlands credits, putting ourselves in a position to move forward… as the economy starts to pick up.”
Once construction begins, Love estimated, the project would be done in phases over six years.
Source: HAMPTON ROADS