Arnold Palmer airport HVAC update set, runway widening options eyed |

Arnold Palmer airport HVAC update set, runway widening options eyed

Jeff Himler
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Passengers wait to embark on a flight to Fort Myers, as Spirit Airlines nears its 2 millionth passenger through Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity Township, on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

Arnold Palmer Regional Airport is expected to get updated heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment this summer, but planned widening of the airport runway won’t begin until September, at the earliest.

The Westmoreland County Airport Authority on Tuesday approved contracts for both projects at the Unity airport.

McCarl’s Preferred Service submitted a low bid of $515,719 for the HVAC work. It was selected from among three contractors that submitted quotes under the state Costars bidding system.

Some of the equipment that will be replaced is more than 20 years old. “The last major addition to the terminal was in 1995,” said Scott Kunselman, the authority’s engineer. “A lot of that equipment is on its last legs.”

A state grant will cover half of the cost. Another Costars contractor, CS&E, has begun to update the terminal’s HVAC control system.

Golden Triangle Construction was selected to widen and strengthen the runway at Arnold Palmer Regional. The work, to be completed in two phases, will widen the runway from 100 feet to 150 feet, providing pilots a wider target when they land in poor weather conditions, authority officials have said. New 20-foot shoulders would make it easier to remove snow from behind runway lights.

Progress on the project depends on the Federal Aviation Administration approving 95% of the funding, a key factor that should be known by next month, according to Kunselman. The authority will cover the remaining 5%.

If that revenue source is confirmed, the authority will have three options for scheduling the runway work.

For a bid of more than $11.3 million, Golden Triangle would complete the job in two 15-day phases involving temporary shutdowns of airplane traffic — scheduled either during September of this year and September 2020 or during July and September 2020. For an additional cost of $600,000, some of the work would be completed overnight, between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

“If we can get the funding for everything, then we’ll go back and work with the contractor to come up with the best plan that will give us the most flexibility to get the job done,” said Kunselman. “It’s probably going to be something in between all those different scenarios. We’re trying to minimize the impacts on the airport users.”

Kunselman reported a new passenger bridge is expected to arrive Wednesday for installation at the Arnold Palmer terminal.

The new bridge is better suited for larger Airbus planes Spirit Airlines uses for flights from Arnold Palmer, providing a more gradual slope between the terminal and the aircraft door.

An existing bridge, which predated the start of Spirit service in 2011, had to be modified but will remain in place.

The authority awarded a $46,587 contract to Richardson Tree and Landscaping, for removal of vegetation found to be obstructing the runway approach at the authority’s Rostraver Airport. That contract depends on the authority receiving state and federal project grants.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
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