Airport gets small piece of federal funding

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By Carol A. Clark

Eight New Mexico airports will benefit from $7.3 million in U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) funds of which $67,000 goes to Los Alamos. Sen. Jeff Bingaman announced the good news in a release late Tuesday.

“Airports are an important economic tool, but are expensive to maintain,” Bingaman said. “I’m pleased the federal government is lending a helping hand to several communities in New Mexico to allow them to keep their airports in top shape.”

Los Alamos Airport Manager David Ploeger said this morning that the funding will be used to rehabilitate the airport's apron to improve its surface drainage and extend its pavement life.

“This year’s funding will be used for the engineering design for the drainage improvements and asphalt overlay,” Ploeger said. “We’ve asked for money next year to do the actual construction work. We’ve also asked for money next year to do the design work for a small extension to the runway.”

The plan is to extend the runway as far as possible, Ploeger said, which will amount to about 450 feet.

The following airports received DOT funding:

• $4.12 million – Clovis Municipal Airport: Funding will be used to rehabilitate runway. Bingaman is requesting $3.7 million in a fiscal year 2009 spending bill to extend the main runway to accommodate increased traffic associated with the new mission for Cannon Air Force Base.

• $1.25 million – Four Corners Regional Airport: Funding will be used to purchase a new Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) vehicle to replace the existing one; for the installation of new guidance signs; for design to rehabilitate the taxiway; for design to rehabilitate the parking lot; to update the airport layout plan, which will identify current and future capitol improvement needs required at the airport and to rehabilitate runway markings and install enhanced taxiway centerlines markings.

• $708,720 – Lea County Regional Airport: Funding will be used to rehabilitate runway lights to improve safety.

• $360,000 – State of New Mexico: Funding will be used to update the state’s Aviation System Plan, which will assist in establishing current and future needs of the system.

• $353,505 – Artesia Municipal Airport: Funding will be used to rehabilitate the airport access road to extend the useful life of the pavement.

• $346,750 - State of New Mexico: Funding will be used to purchase and install AWOS-IIP/T weather reporting devices at Artesia, Sierra Blanca, Alamogordo and Silver City airports. The equipment will greatly enhance safety by providing real-time weather condition reports to pilots.

• $179,600 – Las Vegas Regional Airport: Funding will be used to install a visual approach slope indicator to enhance the safety of the airport by providing accurate vertical guidance to aircraft using the airport. Funding will also be used for design of a snow removal equipment building and to rehabilitate runway pavement markings.

The Los Alamos County Airport (KLAM), was built in 1947 by the Atomic Energy Commission to serve the transportation needs of the growing Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory.

The airport is now publicly owned and operated by the county. The county is responsible for managing operations and maintenance activities for the airport, which is currently leased from the Department of Energy.

The airport, at 1040 Airport Road, is attended from 6 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

To view an airport webcam on a private airport website, access http://web.mac.com/spearingdane/Site/Home.html and select the “webcam” link in the menu bar at the top of the page. The webcam gets its feed from one of the cameras mounted on top of the terminal building and is usually looking east toward the approach end of runway 27. The image updates approximately every 15 seconds.