Construction begins to expand Fulton Airport
Posted: Friday, June 18, 2010 8:58 pm
Construction to expand and improve the Fulton Airport and enhance economic development efforts in Fulton and Hickman counties in Kentucky is under way, with a contract awarded for grade and drain work.
The target completion date for the first phase of the overall project is this fall.
The $1.2 million contract involves moving dirt and constructing drainage structures that will prepare the site for lengthening the local runway to 4,000 feet, widening it to 75 feet and making provision for a taxiway that will extend the full 4,000 feet of the runway’s length.
Sierra Bravo Construction Co. of Sesser, Ill., was the successful bidder for the project.
In next year’s budget cycle, the Fulton Airport board expects funding to allow paving work for the larger runway and taxiway. In addition, new lighting and instrumentation will be installed to aid airport operations in all weather conditions, day and night. This includes PAPI and REILS lighting, along with new runway and taxiway lighting.
A new GPS approach system is also planned, together with a new windsock and rotating beacon.
New hangars will be built in the future and will be located in the area adjacent to the recently-constructed terminal building.
The airport is the only paved facility of its type in Fulton County, Ky., and also serves a significant portion of Hickman County, Ky. It provides close-at-hand airport availability to parts of Obion and Weakley counties in Tennessee as well, according to Fulton Mayor Dan Voegeli.
“These improvements will allow access to our area of much larger aircraft, including business jets,” said Bob Craven, Fulton Airport board chairman. “Thanks to the efforts of the Kentucky Department of Aviation and the FAA, funding for these projects is being provided without requiring extensive local funding. When finished, the Fulton Airport will be one that the citizens of Fulton and Fulton County can be proud of and at the same time give another tool to efforts to bring industry to our area.
“The airport board appreciates the support given by Mayor Voegeli and the Fulton City Commission, along with David Gallagher, county judge executive, and the Fulton County magistrates. Without their support, the project would not be possible, and the entire airport board thanks them,” he added.
“I am very excited over the prospect of improved flight-service operations in our area,” Voegeli said. “The present 2,700-foot runway was completed in the 1960s and has served the community well. However, we learned it was not adequate for airplanes currently used by businesses and industries. It is the intent of the current leadership in Fulton to remove any obstacle that hinders business development in our area. When the airport project is complete, that is one more major hurdle that will be overcome.
“Fulton’s city commissioners and I certainly appreciate the efforts of chairman Bob Craven and other members of the Fulton Airport Board, who have long struggled to maintain and improve this airport. When the current projects are complete, the Fulton Airport will be able to serve all but the very largest airplanes. We look forward to being able to include a 4,000-foot runway in our discussions with businesses being recruited to our area,” he added.
Eddie Crittendon, executive director of the Fulton County-Hickman County Economic Development Partnership, said he is very glad to see that work has begun that will lead to the airport’s expansion.
“This will be a great tool to use for future industrial recruitment to our area,” Crittendon said. “This expansion will give us the ability for companies to land corporate aircraft in Fulton that have previously been forced to land in other areas. The Fulton County-Hickman County Economic Development Partnership fully supports this expansion and is very excited about the future opportunities this will offer. This airport serves the business interests of both Fulton and Hickman counties in our industrial service area. Our board of directors is convinced the improvement of this facility is a major step in recruiting other business interests to communities in our two-county area.”
Gallagher echoed Crittendon’s comments.
“The expansion of the airport is a big bonus to economic development efforts in Fulton County. This is the result of long-range planning by the airport board and funding provided by the FFA gives us the ability to do this work at very little cost to our county,” he said. “When added to the excellent transportation facilities offered by the county’s accessibility to the Mississippi River, the I-69 Corridor and excellent railroad services, this improved airport completes the transportation network available within our county.”
“Hickman County is thankful for the success at the Fulton Airport because it can handle larger planes that may bring potential business opportunities to Hickman County,” added Greg Pruitt, Hickman County judge executive.
Published in The Messenger 6.18.10