Oct. 28--Airports in seven western Kentucky cities are continuing to upgrade using a total of $5.7 million in federal money matched slightly by state and local governments.
The money, part of $12.8 million statewide to improve the aviation network, was announced Thursday by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
But some airport officials say they received the funding several months ago, and the work is ongoing.
Barkley Regional Airport is using more than $3.89 million for second-phase renovation of two runways. The improvements will increase safety during the most critical phases of flight: takeoff and landing.
Weather permitting, construction on the short runway should be finished by the end of the year, and work on the long runway will begin next spring, said Barkley manager Richard Roof.
Work should start during the next few days to complete perimeter fencing for added security, study runway lighting needs and install lights at the new Marion-Crittenden County Airport. The board received $468,407 for that project, which will be completed at least by spring, said chairman Jim Johnson.
"That's the third leg of a three-phase project to completely rebuild the airport," he said. "We had nothing but a grass strip for 10 years."
Johnson said the board is trying to secure additional funds to have an administration building, maintenance hangar and fuel system operational by next fall.
Johnson said the airport improvement will benefit the community in economic development recruitment "because that's the way people want to travel now who are influential when it comes to where businesses locate."
The Federal Aviation Administration contributed 95 percent of the funding with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and local governments providing the other 5 percent.
Other airport-funding projects:
-- $900,000 to expand and improve the Henderson Airport Terminal building.
-- $220,398 to Princeton-Caldwell County Airport for the first of two phases of apron expansion. The space will improve safety in front of the terminal during aircraft movement.
-- $137,674 to Union County Airport in Sturgis to rehabilitate runway lighting, allowing for safer takeoff and landing during low visibility, day or night.
-- $55,000 to Madisonville Municipal Airport to study obstructions at both ends of the runway, flight approach paths and emergency generator design.
-- $48,501 to Murray-Calloway County Airport for design of a new terminal building with improved passenger services.
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A new terminal building, an extended runway, new runway lights and other improvements at the Clay County Regional Airport will give the region a much-needed economic boost.
Once completed in 2008, it will allow the airport to handle up to 50 percent more flights per hour during the right conditions.
The state is funding the terminal, Wimmer said. Ninety-five percent of the funding for the airport is from the FAA, and the other 5 percent is divided between the state and local governments.
A study into steps that the airport can take to lessen the impact of aircraft noise, especially at night, will take another 18 months.