Commonwealth Journal

News Live

September 27, 2012

Improvements, survey may be keys to airport’s new regional initiative

Somerset —  

The runway at Lake Cumberland Regional Airport will close for up to seven days during early October to facilitate a $300,000 runway improvement project, according to airport manager Kellie Baker.
Baker said at this point she can’t say exactly what days the runway will be closed but it will be done during the upgrading project. Funded with a state grant, the upgrading includes filling cracks, sealing the surface and marking the pavement.
The airport’s other services, including landing areas for helicopters used by local and regional businesses, will remain open. 
Also, a study will be done to determine if buildings, billboards or trees obstruct the runway. This study, coordinated by Stantec, the airports engineering firm, will be financed by a $75,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. 
“The obstruction study must be completed before the leaves fall,” Baker said.
J.T. Wilson Field runway is 5,800 feet, about as long as it can be at its location. The runway can’t be extended toward the west because of U.S. 27, and on the east end toward Ferguson there is a big drop-off.
 An Instrument Landing System (ILS) provides lateral and vertical guidance necessary to fly a precision approach. The $3 million, spacious, glass-bedecked terminal is an added attraction when a plane and its passengers touch down.
Meantime, it may be two or three weeks before results are known from a survey to determine if this area can support commuter airline service.
“We know we’ve had a good response to the survey,” said Martin Shearer, executive director of Somerset-Pulaski County Development Foundation. “The responses must be tabulated and analyzed before we get the results.”
Shearer is high on the potential of the local airport. He believes the region needs commercial airline service and is continuing to spearhead an effort to reestablish commuter service between the local airport and a major airline hub.

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