Airport Commission preparing for '24 projects

The El Dorado Airport Commission is preparing for several projects that could be approved next year for South Arkansas Regional Airport at Goodwin Field, including the development of a plan that will look at long-term constructive needs for the airport.

Jonathan Estes, SARA manager, said he is anticipating a busy 2024, noting that he will be working closely with airport commissioners and Garver, a Little Rock-based multidisciplined engineering, planning and environmental services firm and SARA's engineer of record.

"We've got a lot going on next year. My workload is going to quadruple, at the very least," Estes said.

He said he, the EAC and Garver will potentially be juggling four or five major projects for the airport next year.

Jordan Culver of Garver went over plans for the projects during an EAC regular meeting last month.

A runway repaving and lighting project that was put on hole this year because of bottlenecks in the construction supply chain is expected to tee off in late March or early April, Culver told airport commissioners on Nov. 13.

The job will be broken into three components, with the lighting installation taking up one phase and the runway rehab comprising two schedules.

A new LED lighting system and wiring will be installed for runway 4-22.

The estimated cost of the job is $839,810 and the work will be done in conjunction with the repaving of the runway, which comes with an estimated cost of $4.8 million.

Schedule 1 calls for milling the runway, repairing cracks, installing reinforcement fabric, asphalting and applying markings and grooving.

Shoulder stabilization, repairing cracks and seal-coating 25 feet of the shoulders on each side of the runway make up the work for Schedule 2.

The projects will be covered by a mix of state and federal grants.

Redstone Construction Group of Little Rock is the contractor for the job.

Culver said a SARA capital improvement plan (CIP) for 2024 and 2025 has been submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration for review and the group is looking to develop draft an airport layout plan.

"That's a like a road map that looks at long-term development for the next 15, 20 years and it hasn't been done (for SARA) since 1999," Culver said.

He said the plan will focus on approach development and a pavement management program that will assess the condition of existing pavement and capacity for the airport runways.

An aeronautical study would also assist with the project.

Estes said the plan will determine if airport activity is shrinking or growing, needs for hangar space, if additional runway or ramp space is needed, etc.

Another issue that will be studied is how the taxiways line up to the runways at SARA.

"The FAA prefers to have all surface areas intersecting at a normal angle so that pilots can see down both ways safely," said Estes, adding there are several such intersections at SARA that line up at an abnormal angle.

"The aeronautical survey will help determine any airspace hazards and possible issues with approach patterns into the airport," he added.

Estes noted that none of the studies have been bid but cost estimates have been rendered and if the projects are approved, the work will be funded by federal grants.

The EAC is continuing to scout out funding sources and drum up support for efforts to renovate the airport terminal, which was built in the 1940s.