Four years in the making, officials say they are excited about an injection of funds that lay the foundation for future improvements at South Texas International Airport.
On June 30, the state department of transportation announced that Edinburg will receive $2.4 million for planned airport improvements through it’s Aviation Facilities Grant Program, meant for runway and taxiway rehabilitation possibly within the next six months.
Engineering estimates were prepared by KSA Engineering in Austin. The firm planned the design, looking at existing runways and taxiways before making their recommendations to TXDOT.
“If you don’t maintain your existing pavement, then you’re going to lose it and it’s going to cost a lot more than $2.4 million to bring it back up to reconstruct it possibly,” said Daniel Tijerina, director of public works who also oversees the airport.
Edinburg’s project is twofold, officials say. One is to preserve the city’s existing assets at the airport, and the other is to improve safety for landing aircraft. An as yet unnamed firm will make pavement improvements, which includes restriping of all runways and taxiways at the airport. City officials say they have anticipated the grant for the last four years.
Construction at the airport could begin within the next six months, Tijerina said.
“It’s a major maintenance project that assists with the infrastructure out there,” Tijerina said. “So, we are very excited, we are looking forward to the improvements, and this will help us with our future plans as far as the widening and the extension of the runway because the base that’s there will be left in place for future widening and extension.”
The city still has to go through the bidding process, pre-construction, and finally a notice to proceed before a potential firm mobilizes their equipment to start construction. The city will then give the proposed company 120 days to complete the work.
The city forecasts 34 based aircraft running more than 10,000 operations annually from the airport by the year 2014, according to its Airport Master Plan. This will also include the slated addition of jet aircraft operations, which will spike to at least 550.