Jennings Airport granted funds for runway repairs

JENNINGS –The Jennings Airport will receive $595,890 from the Federal Aviation Administration for runway repairs.

The local project is among $2.3 million set aside for airport improvements statewide.

Airport Manager Dwayne Bebee said the money will be used to mill and overlay 5,000 feet of runway 13/31, located just east of the airport office. The project calls for a three-inch asphalt overlay of the runway and related work.

“This means we will be able to keep our airport in tip-top shape,” Bebee said. “We don’t want it to where we get grass start coming through the cracks and it becomes a problem.”

The estimated $950,000 project will be funded 90 percent from the FAA and 10 percent in matching funds from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Aviation Section.

The bid for the project will be let in August with construction expected to begin by October. 

Bebee hopes the project will be completed by the end of the year.

“They will mill it down first, seal the big cracks then overlay it before letting it dry and repainting the markings and striping it.”

During the project planes will continue to use the airport’s main 5,000-foot runway.

Several airplanes including small aircraft and commercial jets use the airport daily, Bebee said. 

Many of those are from out-of-state, others are local agriculture-related aircraft and private planes.

“We don’t have the traffic we used to 25 years ago, but being along Interstate 10 we still get a lot of planes that follow the interstate and this is their stopping place,” he said. “It’s a good place to stop to get gas, eat at a restaurant and spend the night in a hotel.”

He said a lot of the transit traffic stop overnight at the hotel.

“We’re one of the few airports that have a hotel and a restaurant on the field,” he said. “They don’t have to rent a car or get a ride into town.”

In the past decade, the airport has undergone several other renovations and upgrades including a $500,000 project that added landing lights to help airplanes unfamiliar with the airport touch down safely. Other projects have included a larger parking apron to accommodate more planes.

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