In December of 2005 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a Finding of No Significant Impact document that essentially cleared the way for what is now the Runway 6-24 Runway Improvement Program at Erie International Airport, Tom Ridge Field.
Seven years later, and two winters ahead of the initial schedule, the Erie Regional Airport Authority (ERAA) announced that Runway 6-24 opened full-length for the first time. Aircraft will now have 7,500 feet of pavement available for landing and 8,420 feet for take-off. A standard 1,000 feet of safety area at both ends of Runway 6-24 are now providing enhanced safety to the flying public.
“Having full use of the extended runway enabled ERI to establish the 1,000-foot safety areas today, the primary impetus for the $83 Million program,” said Chris Rodgers, Executive Director of the ERAA. “The ERI non-standard safety area waiver was set to expire in 2014. Nearly $60 million in FAA and Bureau of Aviation grants have been provided to ERI specifically to address runway safety area deficiencies. In addition, the extended runway length will improve landing and takeoff reliability in poor weather conditions.” Rodgers continued; “Bottom line; today is Day One of enhanced safety and improved operational reliability at your airport.”
In the weeks and months ahead, a new electrical vault will become operational, extended taxi-way Alpha will be placed into service, upgraded instrument landing system components will come on-line, a completely new approach lighting system will guide landing planes, and the old runway pavement will be resurfaced.
Urban Engineers provided extensive materials testing (soils, asphalt & concrete), monitoring of the wetland mitigation areas, design and permitting for a traffic signal, and field survey support services to help bring the project to fruition. “This is great news for Erie and a game-changing project from the FAA’s perspective because the funding utilized a significant local (Erie County) component for a part of the extension,” said George Willis, PE, Urban’s Office Manager in Erie. “Congratulations to all of the folks who participated on this project.”