When it comes to airports, safety is job #1. What’s job #2?

The Jackson County Airport terminal area apron had degraded to point where repairing the apron wasn’t a viable option. Geotechnical borings of the pavement section were so thin that a mil and overlay project wasn’t even feasible, so it was determined that a comprehensive apron rehabilitation project was required to properly remedy the situation. However, the rehabilitation of the apron by itself was not seen as a high priority project in the eyes of GDOT Aviation and FAA personnel, and the project was not fundable.

But what is a high priority for airports? Safety. And it turned out that the airport had some opportunities to improve a few issues to make the airport safer. For starters, there were fuel dispensers and an existing water well house in the runway object free area (ROFA) that needed to be relocated. Therefore, part of the project was to relocate these facilities to a better and safer location. An added benefit was that the new fuel dispenser will be operational 24/7 and be equipped with credit card readers.

Additionally, during the pre-design site investigation, it was noticed that the taxilanes in the T-hangar area were in poor condition and needed to be replaced. Replacement of this pavement also includes fixing poor drainage in the area. This is where having boots on the ground can be invaluable in the predesign phase. Our engineers could see first hand that water was ponding in multiple areas even though the rainfall event had been several days prior.

So, with safety needs addressed, what’s job #2? Job #2 was figuring out how to pay for it. In this case, by packaging the design and construction of the apron rehabilitation with the relocation of the existing fueling station and other items located within the runway object free zone, the overall project was then viewed as a safety-related project and deemed as a better candidate to receive funding above and beyond the annual entitlement funds. Construction has just recently been completed – job accomplished.