On the heels of Airport Appreciation Days, Putnam County Airport officials are feeling especially appreciated one week later.
The Board of Airport Commissioners learned late last week that its $3,550,050 grant request has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The grant amount will go toward paying 90 percent of major runway and taxiway improvement project now slated for 2014.
The main goal of the project is the removal of a hump in the runway, which will eliminate a safety issue.
Additionally, the project will relocate 1,200 feet of taxiway to the correct runway-taxiway separation, install new runway lights and taxiway lights on the new section, repair a portion of wildlife and security fencing and install approximately 2,000 feet of storm sewer to improve drainage.
The portion of runway not impacted by the hump removal will receive crack repairs and an asphalt overlay.
The BOAC also learned that this is the largest FAA grant that has ever been given to a general aviation airport in the state of Indiana.
The yin to go with that yang is the project will also require the state’s largest ever local match for such a grant.
Of the remaining 10 percent of the project, 2.5 percent is paid by the state, while the other 7.5 percent must come from local funds.
After the state contribution of $98,612.50, this leaves $295,837.50 to be paid from local funds.
Although the grant was not officially awarded until recently, officials have known it was likely coming for some time, and have been fundraising to prepare.
Currently, about $78,000 remains to be raised by the estimated May 2014 start date.
The BOAC opened four bids on the project in May, accepting a $3,474,700 bid from Dave O’Mara Construction. The final cost also includes construction inspection and testing, along with utility costs.
When construction commences next year, it will proceed in two phases.
Phase 1 of the project requires shortening the runway to 2,000 feet for 75 calendar days. During this phase the work on the northern portion of the runway and taxiway as well as the drainage will be completed.
Jet traffic will not be able to use the airport during this period, but small planes will still be able to utilize the shortened runway space.
Phase 2 will require a total shutdown of the airport for 20 calendar days to allow for crack repairs, electrical upgrades, asphalt overlay and pavement markings.