$11M federal grant approved for Arnold Palmer runway widening
The Federal Aviation Administration has approved an $11.1 million grant that will allow Arnold Palmer Regional Airport to proceed with widening of its runway.
The Westmoreland County Airport Authority, which operates the Unity airport, learned of the anticipated funding this week. The federal grant will cover the majority of the cost, with the authority and the state Bureau of Aviation chipping in a 5-percent match, according to authority Executive Director Gabe Monzo.
Airport officials plan to expand the runway width from 100 feet to 150 feet, adding a 25-foot strip on each edge.
The enlarged runway will offer pilots a wider target when they land in poor weather conditions, Monzo said. New 20-foot shoulders will be included, making it easier to remove snow from behind runway lights.
“This is going to be our move into the future,” Monzo said of the runway project. “This is critical to development of any additional service to the region.”
Spirit Airlines, the airport’s sole commercial carrier, offers flights to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and destinations in Florida.
Earlier this month, the authority awarded an $11.9 million contract for the runway project to Golden Triangle Construction, contingent upon the grant approval.
Initial work is expected to extend through August of next year, with crews widening the northwest edge of the runway — the side farthest from the terminal building — during nighttime closures.
A complete shutdown of the runway for 16 days is planned, in September 2020, while the contractor widens the opposite edge of the runway and installs new navigation lights.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .