Thursday, July 03, 2014

Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority awards runway design project to New York City-based Parsons Brinckerhoff: Four agencies applied for the project

The Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority on Thursday awarded the design and oversight of a substantial runway reconstruction project to New York City-based Parsons Brinckerhoff.

As such, the international firm, which has offices in Wichita and Lenexa, will design and oversee construction of the reconstruction of one of Topeka Regional Airport’s primary runways — the 12,800-foot-long 13-31.

Funding for the project will be split between the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Guard Bureau and the MTAA.

The FAA has agreed to fund just 7,300 feet of the 12,800-foot runway — a project that is estimated to cost roughly $20 million. The MTAA’s local match on that comes to $1.6 million to $2 million, for which the MTAA already has set aside $1.5 million. The MTAA has estimated its mill levy will be higher than usual through at least 2016 in an effort to pay for the reconstruction.

The National Guard Bureau will pay to reconstruct the remaining 5,500 feet, but as of yet hasn’t provided a cost estimate, said president Eric Johnson.

Parsons Brinckerhoff will be in charge of designing and overseeing the entire project. Johnson didn’t provide an idea of an appropriate or usual percentage of the total cost that goes to engineering services, but even 10 percent of just the FAA project would be $2 million.

The MTAA received four submissions for its solicitation of qualifications, also including Burns and McDonnell, Jviation and Professional Engineering Consultants. Cost estimates weren’t included in the submissions.

The MTAA approved Johnson’s recommendation.

“I think any one of those four would be qualified to oversee the runway reconstruction project,” Johnson said. “It comes down to which one is best suited for this particular project at Forbes.”

Johnson then threw his recommendation behind the international firm, saying he had been “extremely satisfied” with their work on an earlier runway for the MTAA.

With Thursday’s approval, the firm and the MTAA have less than one week to establish a cost estimate, run it by another firm for its accuracy — known as an independent fee estimate — and submit the information to the FAA to meet the grant deadline of July 11.

“We’ll be hustling,” Johnson said.

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