Charleston International Airport’s effort to improve its taxiways will take off soon with the help of the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA Airport Improvement Program provides grants for planning and development of public-use commercial, reliever and general aviation airports. The FAA will pay for 90 percent of the $24 million taxiway project through this program. The Charleston County Aviation Authority’s share of the project is $2.4 million. The work will include lighting upgrades, sign replacement, concrete reconstruction and drainage improvements. The existing taxiways were installed when the airport was built 30 years ago. While sound due to outstanding maintenance, it’s time to replace them to ensure many more years of service.
“Investment in the airport’s infrastructure is important to the continued growth and development of the region’s commerce and travel and tourism trade,” said Paul G. Campbell Jr., executive director and CEO of the Aviation Authority, which owns and operates CHS and general aviation facilities on Johns Island and in Mount Pleasant.
The CCAA Board today awarded two contracts that pave the way for the project to get under way in 2016. Anthony Allega Cement Contractors of Cleveland, Ohio, was awarded the construction contract. In addition, ADC Engineering of Charleston was awarded the contract for construction administration.
Last year more than 3.1 million passengers flew in and out of CHS. That number continues to grow. Through the end of August, the airport had welcomed 2.2 million passengers. For the same eight months in 2014 the tally was 2 million passengers. The airport’s growth coupled with the boon in the aerospace business sector in the Lowcountry points to the importance of investing in the airport infrastructure, Campbell said.
In 2012, the Aviation Authority embarked on its Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program to transform and modernize Charleston International for the first time since the terminal was built in 1985s. That capital investment has added 1,400 jobs and $211 million to the local economy since 2013.
“We have long known Charleston International has played a significant role in the region’s economy by serving as a gateway for travelers from around the world and a source of great jobs for hundreds of Lowcountry residents,” Campbell said. “This grant will allow us to continue to provide passengers and the region with top-notch airport facilities for many more years to come.”