County board approves airport grant

MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday approved several action items pertaining to an Airport Improvement Program grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The $744,000 Airport Improvement Program, or AIP, grant will fund repairs on the airport’s concrete apron, as well as the purchase of a new runway snow broom.

Sawyer International Airport Manager Duane DuRay said the snow broom is likely to allow faster, more efficient runway cleanup in the winter, which could reduce the chance of future runway closures.

The board unanimously approved resolutions for the FAA and Michigan Department of Transportation to accept the grant.

The grant, which consists of a 90 percent federal share and 5 percent each of state and local shares, will fund all costs associated with the concrete apron repairs for a total of about $129,700, as well as the snow broom, at a cost of roughly $614,300.

DuRay said he expects the FAA will amend the grant to reflect additional repairs needed on the airport’s concrete apron, as the “apron started to show further damages and we put in an estimated increase to that budget of $7,000,” which was not yet reflected in the current grant award.

“We anticipate the grant to be amended as we move forward due to these additional repairs that are required and that all falls within the regulations,” he said.

According to board documents, airport staff had also requested approval to pre-fund the concrete terminal apron repairs in advance of receiving the FAA grant. However, at the meeting, DuRay advised the board that the grant funds for the repairs had come in earlier than expected and that pre-funding would no longer be needed.

The concrete apron repairs are needed because the movement and expansion of about 80 acres of concrete at the airport “has caused excessive stress on the commercial terminal building and surrounding pavement,” a letter from DuRay to the board states.

“A portion of the pavement surface, the concrete, appears to be migrating to the north, and what is happening is, the concrete is hitting our terminal building and the jet bridge and any structure that is stationary there, and it’s applying a lot of pressure,” he said.

Commissioners asked DuRay how the issue would be fixed.

“They’ll take out the sections, they’re going to cut a fairly wide trough in those areas that it’s applying the most pressure,” he said. “They’re going to put expansion joints in there, and they’re going to repair the concrete in those areas, giving that concrete the valuable space to expand and contract and alleviate the pressure.”

DuRay noted that the repairs won’t be a permanent fix, but would provide time to figure out the next step.

“The concrete is continuing to move, but at least this is going to give us a little bit of time,” he said. “And when I say a little bit of time, we’re probably looking at eight to 10 years if it continues to migrate at its (current) rate.”

The board also unanimously approved the contracts for work to be performed on the apron at the meeting.

J Ranck Electric was the lowest bidder for the repairs on the commercial apron pavement, DuRay said, at roughly $99,900.

The board also approved a contract with Mead & Hunt for construction administration, in the amount of about $15,800.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is cbrown@miningjournal.net.