Danbury Municipal Airport Overhauls Taxiway in $2.5 Million Project: 'Needed to be Done'

May 21, 2024

May 20—DANBURY — A $2.5 million project to repave taxiway Charlie at Danbury Municipal Airport and install new lighting along that span is ahead of schedule, according to the airport's administrator.

Contractors are working to install the taxiway's new LED lighting system, while they wait for the Federal Aviation Administration to approve the blacktop mixture they will use to complete the paving, airport Administrator Mike Safranek said.

"That's moving along very very well," Safranek said Tuesday.

Until the project began, the taxiway, which spans between taxiway Delta and the runway 8 approach, had gone 35 years without a complete overhaul.

"The taxiway that we're repaving, it was deteriorating so badly that it was difficult for planes to actually maneuver on it," Safranek said. The lateral separation along the taxiway's pavement "was getting to be really bad," he added.

Before the project began, crews temporarily fixed the deteriorating surface by saw-cutting and filling cracks with asphalt.

"It was not dangerous, but it needed to be done," Safranek said, adding that the overhaul should have been completed five to seven years ago. "It was time. The FAA agreed."

Taxiway Charlie's old lights were 40 years old. Crews are now installing a new LED system using an underground conduit, which Safranek described as "safer" than the direct burial method of the former system.

"It's better for the longevity of the wiring, being conduit," Safranek said.

Oxford-based Guerrera Construction Co. is the contractor completing the work. Hoyle, Tanner & Associates Inc., an engineering firm from New Hampshire, is the engineer on site overseeing the project.

The project is more than 60 percent completed. Federal funds will cover 90 percent of its costs; city funds will cover $213,108; and state funds will cover the remainder. Leaders expect the project will be completed by early summer.

While the project is underway, taxiway usage is limited at Danbury Municipal Airport. A section of Delta taxiway and half of Charlie taxiway are currently closed, Safranek said. The limits on taxiway usage are out of concern for safety, he said.

"My biggest concern, always, with construction equipment and airplanes, is it throws a lot more pressure on the aircraft control tower to move them around the airport," Safranek said. So limiting the movement of equipment and aircraft is "a lot safer."

The FAA signed off on the airport's safety plan, he said.

"So it wasn't just me putting together a safety plan. There are levels and levels of engineers and safety experts who sign off on it before it becomes official," the airport administrator said.

The project, once completed, "won't increase airport traffic at all," Safranek said.

It was part of a larger five-year capital improvement plan that received approvals from the FAA, the Connecticut Airport Authority and local officials.


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