It has been said that Oregon has four seasons: fall, winter, spring, and construction. As this construction season nears its end, Eugene Airport’s two summer projects are wrapping up.
The first project is to rehabilitate taxiways Charlie and Mike.
“Over time, the pavement gets old, so we’re rehabilitating it so that it’s safe and usable for our aircraft,” said Andrew Martz, who is Eugene Airport’s assistant airport director.
The other development underway is creating five, lithium-indused, conrete pads which will hold planes overnight.
“We have to make sure we have concrete that’s strong enough to have a plane sit on it for a long period of time,” Martz said. “If the concrete is not strong enough, then you risk the possibility of the aircraft going down into it, which isn’t great for the aircraft or the asphalt.”
The concrete needs to be fixed because, according to Martz, “They just were kind of worn out, so they were just due to be rehabbed.” He also said that Eugene Airport is running out of overnight parking space for commercial aircrafts, and this development will add five more spots for aircrafts.
Funding for airport development is strictly through federal grants or self-funded. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced on July 21 that Eugene Airport would receive $12,669,789 from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for infrastructure improvements.
“Regonal airports are critical to the safety and success of communities across the state,” Merkley said. “Eugene Airport serves as a regional travel hub for business and pleasure. These federal investments will help ensure the airport infrastructure is up to date and to further support the economic prosperity and safety of Eugene and the surrounding communities for years to come.”
Martz said this money was designated to improve taxiways Charlie and Mike. The concrete pads are also funded by the FAA.
Last month, Springfield Chamber’s Roundtable + Tour was held at Eugene Airport for business owners and community members to learn about the airport’s expansion projects and get a behind-the-scenes tour of the facilities.
Avril Watts, ASTEC general manager, said she enjoyed the presentation given by airport staff and mentioned it was relevant for ASTEC because there are constantly people traveling through Eugene Airport on work-related trips.
“There’s probably rarely a day in the week that there’s not an ASTEC employee or visitor traveling through that airport,” Watts said. “I love our airport. I think it’s got a great reputation with travelers. I certainly want to see it expand, but I hope it doesn’t lose that small small-town feel.”
Eugene Airport’s summer construction will be finished in mid-to-late September. Next year, the airport will be widening taxiways Juliet and Lima.