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KCI Airport receives $19 million grant to pay for reconstruction of taxiway

Posted at 4:31 AM, Nov 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-11 08:25:43-05

KCI Airport has received a $19 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administrator to help pay for multiple improvements along Taxiway B.

According to plans, the taxiway will see a total reconstruction during two phases of the project.

Taxiway B, which sits near the one runway currently in operation at KCI, is 18 years old and currently has multiple issues.

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41 Action News was granted an exclusive tour of the taxiway and nearby runway this week at KCI Airport.

Large visible cracks could be seen along the taxiway, which is still in operation for both commercial and cargo planes at the airport. The loose rocks now inside the cracks, which may seem like a small concern, could cause damage to the aircraft using Taxiway B.

“There's a possibility of debris getting sucked up in the engines, causing damage to the turbine blades which you, your family, and friends are departing off of,” explained KCI Airport manager of operations Bob Johnson.

Johnson and KCI Airport engineer Phil Muncy showed 41 Action News both large and small cracks in the concrete on Taxiway B.

Muncy said the cracks were likely caused by weather over the years, not by loads of the aircraft.

“We've determined that the limestone aggregate is just not as durable as we expected them to be," he explained.

Using the FAA grant, the current Taxiway B will be torn up to make way for a new and better paved taxiway.

The project will also focus on adding brighter signs and lights, as well as better markings to the taxiway.

“Not only is it more energy efficient, when you see these LED lights and signs out here, it is extremely bright,” said Johnson while showing the current signs and lights along the taxiway.

Construction will begin on phase one of the taxiway project next spring.

By November of next year, KCI Airport hopes to complete the first phase of the taxiway.

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The second phase, which will focus on replacing the other half of Taxiway B, is expected to be worked on in 2018.

“It's a positive,” said Muncy. “Things do wear out. Things age in this weather. We have to address it."

Overall, the airport hopes to improve the safety of fliers using the FAA grant for the project.

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Tom Dempsey can be reached at Tom.Dempsey@KSHB.com.

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