Originally featured in Bluegrass Airport
Blue Grass Airport is celebrating the completion of its Taxiway Safety Enhancement Program, a complex construction program that involved the realignment of the airport’s primary taxiway, the building of two new support facilities and the construction of a new taxiway connecting the runway to the airlines’ parking apron. To thank the many partners involved in this extensive program, the airport hosted a ribbon-cutting event today with U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton and Federal Aviation Administration representative Steven Hicks.
This five-phase program began in 2012 and was implemented to ensure operational safety on the airfield and improve the efficiency of aircraft movement. Just like roadways, taxiway systems become congested, and enhancements need to be made to accommodate for future growth. The Taxiway Safety Enhancement Program incorporated a new taxiway that provides a second access route into the airlines’ parking apron. To accommodate this new taxiway, the existing Snow Removal Equipment/Maintenance Complex and the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Facility had to be relocated.
“This program, combined with a runway improvement project planned for the next two years, will result in an investment of almost $100 million,” said Elizabeth Woodward, chair of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Board. “We are thankful for the support of the many stakeholders involved in this project and for the financial resources provided by the federal government through the Federal Aviation Administration. In addition to the airfield enhancements, we now have two state-of-the-art support facilities that allow us to better serve the traveling public.”
With more than 1.4 million passengers flying in and out of Blue Grass Airport in 2019, the airport’s infrastructure must be in place to accommodate its travelers. The ability to serve our region with access to the global business network is essential, and the airport serves as a gateway for visitors from around the world to come and experience Kentucky.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kentucky’s strong air infrastructure made us a critical juncture in the supply chains that keep America moving. Now, as we put the coronavirus in the rearview mirror, it’s important we equip the Commonwealth’s airports with the resources needed to continue that success far into the future,” said Senator McConnell. “I’ve been proud to work with the Fayette County community and Congressman Andy Barr to help provide the federal funds needed to complete this project and expand Blue Grass Airport’s capabilities. Because of their vision and dedication, today we start a new chapter of quality and service in Lexington.”
“Blue Grass Airport is set to roar back after the pandemic with the completion of this project. I strongly supported federal funding to build an efficient taxiway system that will enhance capacity and safety at the airport for generations to come,” said U.S. Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06).
The two new support facilities that are a part of this program allow us to serve the traveling public with a smooth, behind-the-scenes operation. The Snow Removal Equipment/Maintenance Complex, which was relocated and opened in 2015 is a 63,000-square-foot facility. It houses 23 pieces of snow removal equipment to accommodate winter operations at the airport as well as space for vehicle maintenance, deliveries, warehouse storage and day-to-day maintenance functions. During the pandemic, the airport opened its 23,000-square-foot Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Facility, which includes four bay areas for firefighting vehicles and includes equipment rooms, offices, dormitories, training rooms and locker rooms. It replaces the previous building constructed in 1979.
“Blue Grass Airport is so important to our community and our region,” Mayor Linda Gorton said. “Many businesses have moved to central Kentucky because of our state-of-the-art, convenient airport. It is vitally important that the airport be safe, especially when the weather is difficult. Thank you to Senator McConnell and Representative Barr for providing the support we need for Blue Grass Airport.”
As the airport concludes its Taxiway Safety Enhancement Program, work is already underway on the runway rehabilitation project. This project focuses on the paving of the airport’s 7,000-foot main runway and will involve a 72-hour closure of the runway on August 19-22, 2021. During the months before and after the closure, the airport is conducting preparatory work throughout the overnight hours when flights are not active.