Baton Rouge airport gets $7M in federal funding 

    The Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport is getting another $7 million in federal funding, accelerating its effort to complete runway, safety and other projects in its master plan, including reclaiming a portion of Plank Road adjacent to a runway that currently prevents the airport from using the strip at its full capacity.

    The Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program grant money comes on top of another $15 million in federal dollars U.S. Rep. Garret Graves secured for BTR this spring, which, according to an announcement from Graves’ office, was the second-largest AIP grant awarded nationwide. Last year, the airport’s master plan received a total of $6.5 million, collected through initial funding from the FAA and a match from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

    In a prepared statement, BTR Aviation Director Mike Edwards says the $7 million announced Wednesday will go toward establishing a standard runway safety area and runway protection zone for Runway 13-31, while also improving overall airport operations.

    “As the airport continues to grow and develop,” says Edwards, “the community and surrounding area will be provided unique opportunities to do the same.”

    For the past several years, airport officials have been planning to establish a standard runway safety area by removing and relocating a portion of Plank Road, from the end of runway 31. Doing so creates the safety buffer necessary for the airport to utilize the additional distance airplanes need.

    Estimated at $50 million, the project also involves replacing the aging, 18-year-old Engineered Materials Arresting System with a new 200-foot by 200-foot asphalt blast pad. 

    BTR spokesman Jim Caldwell tells Daily Report the airport is roughly 90% complete on the design phase of the project. They expect to start receiving bids near the end of the year, with construction estimated to begin in the spring of 2020. Read the full project description.

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