Saturday, September 24, 2011

Major overhaul under way at Florence Municipal Airport (6S2), Oregon.

A major construction job is taking place at the Florence Municipal Airport, which recently began a more than $900,000 overhaul project to expand its ramp, fortify fencing and add other improvements that are fully funded with state and federal grants.

The nearly $913,000 project includes reconfiguring and expanding the airport’s terminal apron to improve function and conformance with the Federal Aviation Administra-tion design standards, in addition to relocating the existing fueling area and providing new parking positions for aircrafts.

A new helicopter parking pad will also be constructed.

“These are updates that the airport desperately needs,” Airport Manager Gary Rose said. “Part of the project is for safety reasons.”

New entrance gates and a taller fence will be installed to help keep deer off the airport runway and increase security. The new fence and gates will double in height, from 4 feet to 8 feet, with combination locks added to the entrances for pilots.

“The fence is going to go up to full height — 8 feet — and there will be a gate with a combination lock that only the pilots will know how to get in and out of,” Rose said.

The project, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, also consists of constructing an improved rotating beacon and tower as well as building new drainage improvements at the airport.

Florence Public Works, with assistance from Century West Engineering, is managing the three-month-long project.

Eugene contractor Wildish Construction Co. submitted the lowest bid at $912,722 and was approved earlier this year for the job.

“This is a huge project,” said Public Works Director Mike Miller.

So huge, in fact, that the airport has asked its volunteers to help. During the construction, volunteers help with traffic control, making sure the runway is clear for the equipment to cross back and forth, among other tasks.

Rose said he is appreciative of their assistance.

The project’s official start date was Aug. 29. Wildish Construction Co. has 90 days from that date to finish the work, according to the contract.

The Federal Aviation Administration will pay for most of the project’s cost — 95 percent — and a Connect Oregon III Rural Airports grant will cover the remaining 5 percent, which is the required local match.

“This project is basically being funded between federal and state. No local dollars are being used,” Miller said.

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