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Westmoreland airport board seeks FAA grant for passenger bridge

Jeff Himler
| Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 10:54 a.m.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
A backhoe assists crew members preparing a curb area for landscaping improvements as work proceeds on a new entrance from Route 981 and repaving of an interior road June 12, 2018, at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity.

The Westmoreland County Airport Authority hopes the federal government will help cover almost $2 million in planned improvement projects at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, the most costly of which would add a second passenger loading bridge.

The current passenger bridge was designed more than a decade ago, mainly for use with Boeing 737 airplanes. The planned bridge is longer and better suited for larger Airbus planes Spirit Airlines uses for flights from the Unity airport, authority officials said. A bridge designed for larger aircraft would provide a more gradual and manageable slope between the terminal and the aircraft door.

Arcon Contracting, with a price of $1.25 million, is the apparent low bidder looking to serve as general contractor for the bridge project. Darr Construction submitted low bids for each of the remaining contracts related to the bridge — plumbing, $19,400; heating, ventilation and air conditioning, $21,275; and electrical, $59,600.

All bids will be reviewed to ensure they meet the authority's needs.

Authority Executive Director Gabe Monzo said installation could begin as early as September, provided the funding is available. If approved, a Federal Aviation Administration grant would cover 95 percent of the cost.

Darr Construction also offered the apparent lowest bid of $105,345 to replace the emergency generator in the airport's control tower. Monzo said the existing generator could be donated to a local fire department or other nonprofit.

Derry Construction bid $497,582 to rehab a taxiway at Rostraver Airport. That project involves repairing cracks, milling and laying and marking pavement.

Derry Construction recently performed similar work on the apron at Arnold Palmer Regional. The authority agreed to pay $41,000 to have the contractor return and refresh, move or eradicate pavement markings identified in the airport's annual federal certification inspection.

The authority also agreed to pay A. Liberoni an extra $7,222 to install an additional overhead light pole at the nearly complete new entrance to the Unity airport. The contractor has laid a base course of pavement on the new entrance that connects with a roundabout on Route 981. A top course remains to be finished, as well as landscaping and repaving of other roads at the airport.

Authority engineer Scott Kunselman said, if all goes well, the entrance could be finished in about a month.

"It's starting to look good out there," Monzo said. "Just keep the rain away."

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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