Sep. 28—The Connecticut Airport Authority is getting nearly $100 million of federal funding for three of its airports.
The bulk of the $99.27 million will go to Bradley International Airport, which is in Windsor Locks. Bradley got $76.14 million for an inline baggage screening building, $17.96 million for a vertical circulation project and $278,643 for a taxiway extension project.
Groton-New London Airport will get nearly $2.91 million in federal money for airfield lighting and new signs for the facility. Hartford-Brainard Airport will get nearly $1.98 million in federal grant to be used for easement acquisition and obstruction removal.
Kevin Dillon, the Authority's executive director, thanked Gov. Ned Lamont and the state's legislative delegation in Washington for "fighting to bring this important funding home for CAA facilities ... as we continue to develop and maintain safe, efficient, and customer-focused facilities."
Lamont said improvement of Authority's airports "make our state an increasingly attractive destination for companies to grow their operations."
The grants will allow officials at Bradley International, which is New England's second busiest airport, to "create an easier and more streamlined airport experience for travelers, according to U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
"Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Bradley will upgrade its TSA baggage screening systems and expand ticketing counters — helping cut down lines and save travelers time," Blumenthal said.
Bradley's new inline baggage screening building has a projected cost of nearly $151 million. It includes, the construction of a new TSA secure baggage inspections and baggage handling system, involving over a mile of conveyer belt systems.
Currently, passengers checking bags must present them to the ticket counter for tagging and then wheel their bags to the airport's Computer Tomography X-ray machines, which are operated by TSA in the ticketing lobby, said Alisa Sisic, an Airport Authority spokeswoman. Once the project is completed, passengers will hand their checked bags to the ticketing agent for tagging, who will place them on a conveyer belt for routing to the new screening facility, Sisic said.
Once the baggage X-ray machines are removed from the airport ticketing lobby, there will be space for additional ticket counter positions and allowing for additional airline service growth, she said.
The new baggage facility is under construction adjacent to the terminal building. It will also allow for the future construction of new gate and concession space, resulting in an increase of two new gates at the airport, Sisic said.
Bradley's vertical circulation project has a total project cost of nearly $59 million. It will expand the facility by an additional 22,000 square feet to accommodate new elevators and escalators on both ends of the terminal provide passenger exit points at the end of each concourse, rather than routing passengers through one, centrally located exit lane, she said.
In addition, the passenger circulation projects will allow for the closure of the existing exit lane and a significant expansion of the current TSA security checkpoint area.
Sisic said the federal grant money will allow the Airport Authority to continue studying the extension of Taxiway T at Bradley. This project, if undertaken, would significantly improve the development prospects for one of the airport's largest undeveloped parcels.
Sisic said the Groton-New London Airport airfield will get new edge lighting installed as well as LED signs at the airport, improving the visibility of airfield resources She said the Hartford-Brainard easement acquisition and obstruction removal project will mitigate various airspace encroachments surrounding the airport, providing pilots with safe approach surfaces at the facility.
The $99.27 million includes such sources as the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport Improvement Program funds, Transportation Security Administration funds, and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds. Nearly $26 million of that funding was from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law grants, which are competitive grants, according to Airport Authority officials.
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