SARANAC LAKE - Part of the plane parking area at the Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear will be upgraded using a $627,140 federal grant announced Thursday by U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Rep. Bill Owens.
The Federal Aviation Administration has also awarded the town of Harrietstown-owned airport $167,770 for a study of its pavement that will determine future maintenance needs.
Airport Manager Corey Hurwitch said the larger grant will rehabilitate half of the facility's deteriorated apron.
Planes are parked on the apron at the Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear on July 8, one of the airport’s busiest days of the year.
(Photo — Corey Hurwitch, Adirondack Regional Airport)
"Right now there's absolutely no drainage in it," he told the Enterprise Friday. "We've had problems in the spring when the sublayers aren't quite thawed out and the top blacktop is thawed out. We get a layer of water trapped in there, and we've actually had the asphalt explode when a vehicle drives over it.
"This project is going to add in drainage subsurface, so everything below grade drains properly. It will also add surface drainage so that in the winter, when we have freeze-thaw cycles, the water will drain off quicker so it has less of a chance of turning back to ice."
Hurwitch noted that the airport's apron wasn't designed to handle the weight of some of the big jets that use it now.
"Right now, we're a little cautious and nervous about putting the bigger aircraft in certain areas," he said. "This will support the heavier aircraft."
The town recently went out to bid on the apron rehabilitation project and awarded the contract to Acts II Construction of Gouverneur. The work is expected to start sometime after Aug. 1 and take about 90 days to complete.
The second grant will be used to develop an Airport Pavement Management System Study.
"Within the last five to 10 years, most of the airfield's surfaces were repaved," Hurwitch said. "This study will basically evaluate how it's holding up and where we need to focus our efforts to maximize the life of the pavement.
"It's also going to provide us data telling us how much weight we can put on the runways. Right now what we're listed for, my belief, is too low, and I think we may be excluding ourselves from some of the bigger aircraft that we've actually had out here. We still allow them to come here, but now we'll be backing it up with technical data that shows we're capable of supporting that weight."
The federal government will pay 95 percent of each project's cost. The town and the state will split the remaining 5 percent.
Hurwitch said the town is also slated to receive a separate $81,894 grant this year for aircraft rescue and firefighting equipment, including fire suits, airpacks and breathing apparatus.
Schumer, Gillibrand and Owens also announced a $73,150 grant to design and plan for a new taxiway at the Massena International Airport.
"This funding will continue to support aviation needs in the North Country through air infrastructure improvements," Owens said in press release. "Local airports are tremendous drivers of the economy, and by giving these facilities the resources they need to enhance their operations, we can help to bring more business to the area."
Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or email@example.com.