After several years of planning, the Blair County Airport Authority officially opened its renovated east-west runway on Thursday morning.
U.S. Representative John Joyce, R-13th District, who worked to provide funding for the upgrade to the 75-foot-wide, 3,668-foot-long runway, said the reconstruction effort will improve safety at the airport and will attract additional commercial and corporate air traffic. .
“This is the flight path of the future”, he said, referring to the improved runway not only as an asset for the airport but also as a generator for the region’s economy.
Blair County Commissioner Amy Webster, the county’s liaison to the authority, said the runway upgrade comes at the right time, noting the authority plans to offer jet service via Contour Airlines soon. of Smyrna, Tennessee, which represents another effort to improve service at the facility located near Martinsburg.
” That’s wonderful. It’s just perfect. Webster said after a very short ceremony near the airport and terminal hangars.
Ben Stapelfeld Jr. of Hollidaysburg, a Blair County businessman and longtime airport authority member, is also a pilot.
He attested to Joyce’s comment that the runway project will improve aircraft safety.
He said the crosswind runway which is often used by aircraft in strong wind conditions on the main north-south runway, previously had cracked pavement and grass along its surface.
The new surface will provide greater safety for aircraft, he explained.
He said it will also allow for more commercial traffic.
Airport manager Tracy Plessinger described the project “such as the rehabilitation of our 12/30 track and our segmented wind cone primary circle,” referring to numbers and items that are visible to pilots entering or leaving the facility.
He pointed out that the project included a design phase funded by the Federal Aviation Administration, PennDOT and the county.
The construction phase was funded by COVID-19 relief funds, Plessinger said.
The project was carried out over several years, from 2019 to 22.
Plessinger said the project, which cost $2,520,511, was planned and built by three prime contractors:
* Delta Airport Consultants of Dauphin County completed the design work for $379,800.
* New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co. Inc. of Blair County rebuilt the track, $1,503,223.
* Cottle Asphalt Service of Bedford County, $637,488.
“The project included milling, paving, grooving and marking the surface of the track”, he said.
Joyce, looking at the newly completed track, referred to it as “State of the art design.”
He concluded by noting that the modernization of the airport was carried out by local companies.