The Sugar Land Regional Airport has been awarded a $2.8 million grant from the Texas Department of Transportation that will help fund scheduled upgrades.
The grant was awarded from the state through the Federal Airport Improvements Block Grant Program, which is administered to general aviation airports each year.
“I have been with the airport for 17 years, and improvements have been needed for 17 years,” said Phil Savko, general manager for the Sugar Land Regional Airport.
The grant will fund the removal and replacement of a hangar, which is the first phase of a larger project to make upgrades and improvements necessary for the airport to be compliant with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
Savko said that the grant will fund much of the removal and reconstruction of the hangar along what is called Taxiway J, but there is a much larger project that cannot be completed until the hangar project is finished.
That larger project involves the re-construction of the adjacent taxiway to adhere to FAA standards.
“The parallel taxiway at Sugar Land Regional is currently closer to the runway than standards require, given the type of aircraft that operate at the airport,” said Mark Cross, TxDOT media relations coordinator. “In order to meet these standards the taxiway needs to be moved further away from the runway. The movement of the taxiway requires relocation of the referenced hangar.”
Taxiway J will be shifted away from the main runway by a distance of about 250 feet, Savko said.
“Before we move the taxiway, we will rebuild the hangar, so that when we take down the old hangar we don’t displace any airplanes,” Savko added.
The plans were designed by locally based KFA Engineering, Savko said.
“The taxiway design is complete and the hangar design is complete,” Savko said. “Once we are done with the two hangars, we will be ready to bid out the taxiway portion of this.”
Safety is the catalyst behind shifting and reconstructing the taxiway, said Savko.
“The aircraft are getting bigger, and some have a wingspan of 110 feet, so that will give us an element of safety,” he explained.
In order to shift and reconstruct the taxiway, the airport had to acquire more land.
Two years ago, the airport purchased 85 acres through the Texas General Land Office.
The property, which is adjacent to the airport, was the former location of prison guard housing complex know as Smithville.
“We only need about 20 acres, but we had to buy it in one parcel,” Savko said.
The remaining property will be used for additional hangars
The taxiway relocation project is expected to take about three years to complete and will done in three phases, Savko said.