Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Arnold Palmer Regional Airport (KLBE) to get scaled-back apron rehab

The Westmoreland County Airport Authority Tuesday awarded a contract for rehabilitating the apron at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport with a reduced scope that keeps the project within budget.

Derry Construction Company, which also was chosen to repave and strengthen the runway at the Unity airport, submitted the sole bid for the apron work, according to authority engineer Scott Kunselman, of GAI Consultants.

Upon his recommendation, the authority awarded the contract along with a change order, reducing the cost from about $1.3 million to $985,249.

He said the contractor's bid was “in the ballpark of where we wanted to be, but it worked out higher than the money we had available. It's a rehabilitation project, so we can adjust our quantities down to match the money we have available.”

Kunselman estimated the trimmed price will allow the authority to complete milling and an overlay of new pavement on about half of the apron — beginning at the southwest end, which hasn't seen major work for a decade or more. He said sealcoating likely will be used to preserve the northeast end of the apron, which was patched four years ago.

The contract award is contingent upon approval by the state Bureau of Aviation, he said.

Runway shutdown slated

Executive Director Gabe Monzo reminded the authority board that the runway at Arnold Palmer Regional will be shut down Sept. 12-20 so that Derry Construction can mill, repave and repair cracks on it.

“We're going to try to make every attempt we can to make that as bearable as possible and as short as possible,” Monzo said, noting favorable weather could speed up that $2.5 million project. During the shutdown, he said, Spirit Airlines will offer flights linking Pittsburgh International Airport with the same airports normally reached from Arnold Palmer Regional.

Master plan approved

Kunselman reported officials with the Federal Aviation Administration have signed off on the master plan for the Unity airport, which proposes more than $63 million in capital improvement projects through 2034.

As part of that plan, the authority has completed rehabilitation of a taxiway and is nearly done with expansion of parking.

Pre-construction meetings with contractors were planned this week for development of a new vestibule and exit for passengers on arriving flights and of a new access road that will connect to a roundabout PennDOT is constructing on Route 981.

The authority also is contemplating expansion of the terminal, to provide passenger bridges for multiple simultaneous flights, and widening of the runway.

“Especially in difficult weather times, that extra 50 feet of runway width is really helpful,” Monzo said. 

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