Westmoreland airport authority picks New York engineers | TribLIVE.com

Westmoreland airport authority picks New York engineers

Jeff Himler
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
A vehicle traveling on Route 981 on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, passes the new sign recently installed at the entrance to Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity.

The Westmoreland County Airport Authority has set its sights beyond the region to select a new engineering consultant.

The authority this week approved a five-year, non-exclusive agreement with McFarland Johnson, a Binghamton, N.Y.-based engineering firm that has a history of working on airport projects.

“They are very much involved with aviation,” authority Executive Director Gabe Monzo said. “The authority thought that was a good choice to go with.

“It doesn’t lock (authority members) in, but it does give them a large aviation firm to go and do projects for us.”

The company has an office in DuBois, Monzo said.

Mark Gera, who chairs the authority’s engineering committee, said McFarland Johnson was the unanimous choice after interviews of three firms that submitted proposals.

According to its website, aviation projects McFarland Johnson has worked on include an environmental assessment and public outreach for removing business and residential structures that were in the runway safety area at Allegheny County Airport; planning review and advisory services for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport; and a terminal expansion and renovation at Plattsburgh International Airport in Clinton County, N.Y.

The authority named Ebensburg-based L.R. Kimball as an alternate engineering consultant. “They’re another good firm, aviation-wise,” Monzo said, noting Kimball might be used if it has expertise suited to a particular project.

“With the upcoming projects, we thought these were the best two firms to get involved,” Gera said.

The authority, which also operates Rostraver Airport, expects to undertake several improvement projects in the years to come at the larger Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity. While plans are in place for widening the Arnold Palmer runway, Monzo said the authority would like to update snow removal equipment there, expand a building that houses firefighting and aircraft rescue equipment and “open up the bottom section of the terminal to allow more passenger seating.”

Monzo and authority Chairman Don Rossi said they anticipate a smooth transition as McFarland Johnson gets to work and outgoing Pittsburgh-area consultant GAI Consultants wraps up involvement with projects that are under way. Monzo said GAI has served the authority since 2012, when it acquired Lee Simpson Associates, an aviation design firm in DuBois.

Gera said staffing changes at GAI were among the reasons the authority ranked it third among the firms seeking to provide services for the next five years.

GAI representative Raena Lindemuth reported that a baggage lift arrived Monday, one of the final items remaining for completion on the new passenger loading bridge at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.

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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