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Franklin Co. airport runway to be repaved

September 13, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Pilots using the Franklin County Regional Airport can expect smoother takeoffs and landings next year when its runway gets a $477,000 facelift, according to officials with the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority (SARAA).

Formerly the Chambersburg Municipal Airport, the 93-acre airport was purchased last year from the borough by the authority, which also owns Harrisburg International Airport and Capital City Airport, also in Harrisburg, Pa.

The airport's taxiway and ramps also will be included in the improvements, according to Timothy J. Edwards, the deputy director of Aviation at Harrisburg International Airport. The SARAA board of directors last month tentatively approved awarding the contract to the apparent low bidder, Valley Quarries of Chambersburg, Edwards said.

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Edwards and David E. Spaulding, the deputy director of engineering and planning at Harrisburg International, were at Monday's Chambersburg Borough Council meeting for a public hearing and vote on a hazard overlay zone surrounding the airport.

"It's my understanding that Greene Township, in which the airport is located, already has an overlay district," said Phil Wolgemuth, the borough's planning director. SARAA needs the overlay zone, which the council approved, to prevent the building of any future structures that could obstruct the approaches to the airport, he said.

"We're in the process of completing a master plan for the airport and this is part of the process," Edwards said.

The zone includes part of the borough's First Ward, Wolgemuth said. It is unlikely to have any effect on that part of the borough, which is largely residential and has a height limitation of 35 feet, he said. The airport is several miles north of Chambersburg.

The improvements to the airport's 3,300-foot runway are scheduled to begin next spring and be completed by the summer, Edwards said. The work includes cleaning out and filling in cracks and laying 2 inches of new asphalt on the runway, he said.

All but 5 percent of the money for the runway project is coming from the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport Improvement Program, which is funded by user fees on such goods and services as airline tickets, cargo shipments and aviation fuel purchases, he said.

The master plan also looks at improvements the authority wants to see made at the airport over a 12-year period, said Edwards. Those include replacing runway lighting, new navigational aids, the repair or replacement of several buildings and more hangar space. Edwards said the authority continues to get requests for more enclosed storage space for aircraft.

The borough sold the airport, which it owned for more than 30 years, for approximately $790,000. The money is being used for street improvement projects in the borough.

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