Posted 5/31/16 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
Jets may be a more regular sight in the skies above Tioga.
Beginning June 1, the Tioga Municipal Airport is going to undergo an enormous expansion project.
The airport board has been pursuing the project for nearly three years.
“I think it’s great for the city,” said Board President Chris Norgaard.
Airport board member Steve Jensen said once the construction is complete, the airport will accommodate larger jets.
The runway currently handles corporate jets just fine.
The project will improve the taxiways and apron, which are now rated at about half the weight of the small jets.
“There’s no reason to have a runway you can’t come off of,” Jensen said.
Jets can now sink into the pavement, which can be hard on the jet and can require the airport to do repairs. Jensen said getting the plane out of the hole can sometimes be a challenge, too.
The apron will also be expanded so corporate planes will be separated from regular commercial aviation, such as crop sprayers.
If the airport expansion does draw more traffic to the airport, this will ease the congestion on the ramp.
To allow crews to do their work, the airport will be shut down for a total of 10 days, Jensen said, but not consecutively.
The project will cost $5.5 million.
Federal grants will cover 90 percent of that, with the state pitching in 5 percent. The city’s sales-tax supported infrastructure fund will pick up part of the remaining 5 percent.
Jensen said the airport secured a loan to cover part of the local portion.