Falcon Field Airport begins $4 million in improvements
By: Dee Anne Thomas
06/23/14 4:39 PM
More than $4 million in improvements will be completed at Mesa's Falcon Field Airport this summer and fall to maintain high-quality facilities and safety. Federal and state grants will help to pay for the improvements.
"Falcon Field has been quite successful at leveraging grants to continue improving our facilities," Airport Director Corinne Nystrom said. "We appreciate these partnerships that, over the last decade, have enabled the Airport to invest more than $11 million in grant funding for improvements."
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) established a nationwide Runway Safety Program in 2002, and Falcon Field has been an active partner. In 2012 as part of a runway safety project, the Airport installed elevated runway guard lights at several runway intersections to provide additional visual warning to those who are about to enter an active runway. They help reduce the potential for aircraft, vehicles, pedestrians and equipment to inadvertently enter a runway. The Airport is installing the lights at all remaining runway intersections not currently equipped with them.
Falcon Field also is replacing and upgrading existing airfield lighting components for both of its two runways. These include Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI) which are visual aids that provide guidance information to help pilots acquire and maintain the correct vertical approach path to a runway. Some existing PAPIs are set at 3 degrees, but the FAA has approved setting all PAPIs at 4 degrees to allow aircraft to fly higher on approach to reduce noise over nearby residential areas. Runway End Identifier Lights (REIL) also will be installed to help pilots identify the approach end of a runway at night or during inclement weather.
The projects will feature new-generation light emitting diode (LED) as part of the airport’s environmental program and to reduce long-term maintenance and electrical costs.
The three lighting projects total $974,048, with the FAA funding $575,542, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) funding $336,053 and the Airport contributing $62,453. AJP Electric of Phoenix is the contractor for the projects, which will be completed simultaneously to reduce runway closures.
"The lighting projects are the culmination of work that began several years ago to ensure that pilots using Falcon Field have the latest technology for safety during approaches and landings," Brad Hagen, Airport Projects & Operations Supervisor, said.
In 2012 the Airport completed a $1.6 million pavement rehabilitation project on aircraft parking ramps that had reached the end of their useful life cycle. A second ADOT grant totaling $1.8 million has been awarded to construct the project's second phase, and the Airport will provide $200,000 in matching funds. Existing ramp pavements will be reconstructed, and new tie-down anchors and pavement markings will be added. Construction is slated to begin this summer.
A pavement overlay project also will begin this summer. The Airport's main runway will be milled and re-paved, and markings will be repainted. The project cost is $697,838, with 90 percent funded by ADOT and 10 percent funded by Falcon Field. Cactus Asphalt will be the project contractor.
"These pavement projects are important components to keeping Falcon Field facilities in top condition," Airport Director Corinne Nystrom said. "Infrastructure quality and excellent customer service are what keep pilots and businesses coming here."
In addition to these airfield improvements, other upcoming Airport upgrades are planned to improve its functionality and appearance:
Falcon Field’s landmark water tower will be painted to enhance this airport icon. The structure will be painted to be visible to pilots from the air, and the City and Airport logos will be added.
DWL Architects is finalizing design of renovations to the Airport terminal building. Construction is expected to begin this summer and be completed in 2015. Planned improvements include updating the exterior, lobby, public waiting area, pilot briefing room and restrooms.
The Airport plans to select a firm in fiscal year 2014-2015 to redesign directional signage, roadway landscaping, and street lighting. The projects are part of the capital improvement plan to improve the Airport's appearance and functionality.
More than 700 aircraft are based at Falcon Field, which is owned and operated by the City of Mesa. The 85 existing airport businesses employ more than 1,000 people.
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